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Name: In re K.R.
Case #: B247519
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 5
Opinion Date: 04/25/2013

Juvenile court improperly dismissed petition where father abused stepdaughter putting his younger biological daughter at risk. DCFS received a referral that N.C. had been sexually abused by her stepfather, and feared that he would sexually abuse her younger half-sibling, K.R. The juvenile court removed N.C., but not K.R., opining that her situation was different because she was stepfather’s biological daughter, the abuse had happened six years earlier, and father’s abuse of N.C. did not put K.R. at risk. Since N.C. was now over 18, the juvenile court dismissed the petition. DCFS petitioned for writ of mandate, contending that the juvenile court erred in dismissing the petition as to K.R. The appellate court agreed and granted the petition. Cases have overwhelmingly held that sexual abuse of one child constitutes substantial evidence of risk to another child in the household, especially where both are females. The juvenile court’s distinction between biological daughter and stepdaughter was insufficient to support a finding that K.R. was not at risk. K.R. was at even greater risk, since she was now living alone with stepfather and was now the age that N.C. was when the abuse began. The juvenile court should not have dismissed the petition.