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Name: In re Mia Z.
Case #: B267041
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 8
Opinion Date: 04/20/2016

Substantial evidence supports a section 300(f) finding where there was a causal connection between mother’s neglectful conduct and her child’s accidental death. Three-year-old Destiny died when a heavy iron rolling gate fell off its track and struck her in the head. Mother had a history of allowing her children to run around outside unsupervised. The Department filed a petition alleging section 300(f) [causing a sibling’s death] and removed Destiny’s 2-year-old sister, Mia, and then Angel, a subsequent child born to mother. At a contested hearing, Mother’s landlord testified that he had observed the minors playing unsupervised many times, and had seen them go into the apartment of a single male. He and other tenants had brought dangerous situations to mother’s attention many times. The petition was sustained, and the minors were removed from mother. On appeal, mother contended that the evidence was not sufficient to support the dependency court’s jurisdictional finding under section 300(f) because it was not shown that mother’s lack of supervision “caused” Destiny’s death. Mother argued that Destiny would have been killed by the gate falling on her even if mother had been with her at the time. The appellate court rejected mother’s argument. If mother had not neglectfully allowed Destiny to walk away from the family home unattended, she would not have been crushed to death by the falling gate.