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Name: In re Daniel B.
Case #: B254274
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 7
Opinion Date: 10/22/2014

The juvenile court erred when it delegated the responsibility of determining the length of mother’s participation in a domestic violence program to the program counselors. Mother appealed from the juvenile court’s disposition order, which placed the minor children with her on family maintenance, but ordered her to participate in a domestic violence support group for an open-ended period. Mother contended on appeal that the juvenile court erred by delegating to the program’s counselors the authority to determine how long mother would be required to attend the program. The appellate court agreed and reversed the order requiring participation in the support group and remanded for further proceedings. It was reasonable for the court to order mother into a domestic violence program and there was no abuse of discretion in an order for an open-ended program. The error was that the court appeared to delegate to the program counselors the sole discretion to decide the length of mother’s participation. Although the court could rely on reports and recommendations of the program’s counselors, the final determination of when mother had satisfactorily completed this portion of her case plan must be made by the juvenile court, not by the program’s counselors.