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Name: In re J.F.
Case #: B252864
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 5
Opinion Date: 07/23/2014
Summary

Juvenile court retains discretion to continue jurisdiction even where Department recommends termination of jurisdiction. The juvenile court found jurisdiction over mother’s 17-month-old son when mother was still a minor, due to mother’s mental condition. The juvenile court continued to maintain jurisdiction. Mother was living with the minor in a group home where his safety and well being were monitored by staff. Mother appealed from an order from the last section 364 hearing at which the juvenile court maintained jurisdiction despite the Department’s recommendation that jurisdiction should be terminated. On appeal, mother contended that because the Department recommended termination of jurisdiction, it did not establish by a preponderance of evidence that conditions still exist which justified continuation of jurisdiction. She contended that absent the Department’s proof, the juvenile court is required to terminate jurisdiction. The juvenile court rejected the argument and affirmed. To interpret section 364 to mean that a juvenile court after hearing the evidence cannot retain jurisdiction over a child just because the Department recommends that jurisdiction be terminated is inconsistent with the provisions of section 364 and its legislative intent, and would lead to an absurd result. Mother was described as a work in progress, and there was no evidence concerning her ability to live independently. There was substantial evidence in the record which supported the court’s determination not to terminate jurisdiction.