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Name: In re Joaquin C.
Case #: B277434
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 7
Opinion Date: 09/01/2017

Jurisdictional and removal orders reversed where there was insufficient evidence that mentally ill mother failed to adequately protect the minor. Mother had a mental illness described as schizophrenia, paranoid type. Within a week of the minor’s birth, a referral was made to DCFS alleging that mother was displaying paranoid and delusional thoughts. DCFS visited the family, and found the minor appropriately dressed and fed, with no marks or bruises. He was in good health, and the social worker noted that mother was attentive and caring toward him. Mother denied mental health issues, but expressed beliefs that her ex-husband was trying to poison her and the children, and that he and his family were using black magic against her. Mother refused her medications because she was breastfeeding the minor. The juvenile court sustained a petition based on mother’s mental illness and refusal to take her medication, and ordered the minor removed. The appellate court reversed the orders. Mother did not fail to provide the minor with adequate food, clothing, shelter or medical treatment. She was breastfeeding him, and he was well groomed and clothed. The home was clean and well-organized. There were no problems observed with the minor, and mother had a strong family support system. DCFS did not satisfy its burden to prove that mother had failed to adequately supervise or protect the minor, or that her mental illness rendered her incapable of providing regular care to him.