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Name: In re R.T.
Case #: B256411
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 04/02/2015
Subsequent History: Review granted 6/17/2015: S226416

Proof of parental culpability is not required for dependency jurisdiction under Welfare and Institutions Code section 300, subdivision (b)(1). The minor began running away, not attending school, and falsely reporting that her mother was abusing her, starting at age 14. She had two babies, one at age 15, another a few years later. Mother made efforts to supervise and safeguard the minor, but the minor was “incorrigible” and “out of control.” The Department filed a section 300(b)(1) petition when the minor was 17, alleging mother’s inability to adequately supervise the minor. The juvenile court sustained the petition and removed the minor. Mother appealed, arguing that there was no proof that her inability to supervise or protect the minor stemmed from being unfit or neglectful. The appellate court rejected the argument and affirmed. Appellant cited In re Precious D. (2010) 189 Cal.App.4th 1251, which said that section 300(b)(1) requires proof of parental culpability. This court disagreed, holding that the language, structure, and purpose of dependency statutes counsel against Precious D.’s conclusion that the provision turns on a finding of parental blameworthiness. When a minor is at risk of serious physical harm, a parent’s inability to supervise or protect is enough to invoke the juvenile court’s jurisdiction.