Skip to content
Name: In re Jesus M.
Case #: B256537
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 03/13/2015

Father’s repeated violations of restraining order did not amount to a risk of physical harm required for jurisdiction under Welfare and Institutions Code section 300, subdivision (b). Mother was granted custody of the minors following a divorce proceeding, and obtained a restraining order against father due to domestic violence. The children came to the attention of the Department when it learned of father’s repeated violations of the restraining order. Following a hearing on a section 300(b) petition, the court found jurisdiction, detained the children from their father, and then terminated jurisdiction, granting sole custody to mother. Father was permitted monitored visitation. On appeal, father contended that substantial evidence did not support the court’s jurisdictional finding. The appellate court agreed and reversed. Although father behaved in a way that was detrimental to the emotional welfare of his children, section 300(b) does not provide for jurisdiction based on “emotional harm.” The statute means what it says: before the court can exert jurisdiction under section 300(b), there must be evidence indicating that the child is exposed to a substantial risk of serious physical harm or illness. Here, there was no such evidence of threat to the children’s physical safety.