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Name: In re I.G.
Case #: C073603
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 05/20/2014
Summary

The juvenile court erred when it returned minor to parent and dismissed jurisdiction, where minor was at risk and still in need of supervision. The 14-year-old minor was declared a dependent due to her mother’s substance abuse and failure to supervise, and because her father was in prison and could not care for her. The minor was a challenge for the Department to place, and ran away from any placement. The juvenile court found that the parents had made no progress with services, but, at the Department’s request, returned the minor to her mother’s custody and terminated dependency jurisdiction. Minor’s counsel and the guardian ad litem appealed, contending that the juvenile court erred because the minor remained at risk and in need of supervision. The appellate court agreed and reversed. The juvenile court has a duty to protect the welfare of minors in its jurisdiction. Here, the minor was detained because the juvenile court found that leaving her in the home would be contrary to her welfare. It found that the parents had made no progress towards alleviating the problems which led to the detention. Nonetheless, it returned the minor to her mother’s custody. By doing so, it acted outside its authority and abrogated its duty to protect the minor.