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Name: In re F.P.
Case #: B307313
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 02/24/2021

Substantial evidence supported the juvenile court’s finding that visitation between mother and the minor would be detrimental where mother’s abuse of the minor caused him distress, and he refused to communicate with her. The minor was detained after telling police that mother physically and emotionally abused him and that he was afraid of her. Mother appeared paranoid, believed people were following her, and stated that she observed U.F.O.s. Mother often talked about killing herself or purposely crashing her car. The minor’s adult siblings told social workers that mother had physically and mentally abused them when they were in her care. Following detention, the minor was hospitalized for suicidal ideation. He refused all contact with mother, and became upset when mother called his caregiver demanding to speak with him. The juvenile court found that visitation with mother would be detrimental to the minor and ordered no visitation. Mother appealed, and the appellate court affirmed. The juvenile court has the discretion to deny visitation when it would be inconsistent with the well-being of, or detrimental to, the child. (In re Matthew C. (2017) 9 Cal.App.5th 1090, 1101-1102.) Mother’s physical and emotional abuse of the minor, and his subsequent self-harming behaviors and refusal to communicate with mother constituted substantial evidence to support the juvenile court’s finding that visitation would be detrimental.

The juvenile court did not abuse its discretion when it ordered that conjoint counseling between mother and the minor commence when deemed appropriate by the minor’s therapist. A juvenile dependency court has the power to issue “all reasonable orders for the care, supervision, custody, conduct, maintenance, and support of [a dependent] child.” (Welf. & Inst. Code, § 362(a).) The juvenile court has broad discretion to determine what would best serve and protect the child’s interests. Having the minor’s therapist decide when conjoint counseling would be appropriate was not an unlawful delegation of judicial power because, unlike visitation, there is no statutory right to counseling. The juvenile court did not abuse its discretion by ordering conjoint counseling with mother and the minor when deemed appropriate by minor’s therapist. The appellate court also held that this issue was forfeited for failure to raise any objection in the juvenile court.