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Name: In re M.D.
Case #: D081568
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 07/11/2023
Summary

Substantial evidence supported the juvenile court’s jurisdiction and disposition findings where the findings were not based solely on indigence, but also other factors. The eight-year-old minor (Minor) was removed from Father due to his failure to adequately supervise her and to provide her with adequate food and shelter. Father regularly left Minor unsupervised in their apartment without readily available food. The apartment was in an unsanitary condition. Minor was not enrolled in school and was far behind educational milestones. She lacked knowledge of basic hygiene and exhibited food insecurity behaviors. Father denied any wrongdoing and did not engage in predisposition services. Following a contested jurisdiction and disposition hearing, the juvenile court found there was a basis for jurisdiction and ordered Minor removed from Father. The appellate court affirmed the orders on appeal. Effective January 1, 2023, section 300, subdivision (b)(2)(C) prohibits a child from being found to be a person described by section 300 solely due to indigence or other conditions of financial difficulty. However, indigence may be a factor considered under section 300, subdivision (b) so long as it is not the only factor. Here, substantial evidence supported the juvenile court’s jurisdiction findings because conditions existed which were not solely due to Father’s indigence, such as his failure to supervise the minor. Additionally, the accumulation of filth and trash in the apartment demonstrated that Father had failed to take even minimal steps to clean the apartment. Substantial evidence similarly supported the dispositional findings because Father’s habitual parenting practices, coupled with his ongoing denial and lack of insight, would allow a factfinder to conclude that it was highly probable that returning Minor to his care would put her at risk of physical danger.

The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: https://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/D081568.PDF