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Name: In re James W.
Case #: B203056
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 3
Citation: 158 Cal.App.4th 1562
Summary

The trial court erred when it denied the Department’s petition to modify the minor’s placement where grandmother permitted unmonitored contact with the parents who caused a sibling’s death. The minor’s sibling suffered fatal injuries from being shaken while in the care of her parents. The minor was removed and placed with the paternal grandmother. DCFS filed a 388 petition to modify the custody order, alleging that grandmother was allowing the minor to have unmonitored contact with the parents. The court denied the petition, and DCFS sought writ review. The appellate court granted the writ petition. The evidence showed that unmonitored contact with the parents presented a serious risk of physical harm to the minor in light of the fact that his sister died while in their care. The evidence also showed that there was a reasonable likelihood that grandmother was permitting unmonitored contact and also that she lied about the circumstances under which father’s car was parked in her driveway and intended to conceal facts from the social workers and police. The danger to the minors outweighed any benefit the infant may have had by being placed with grandmother. Therefore it was an abuse of discretion not to err in favor of safety of the child and order him detained.

Opinion Date: 01/18/2008