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Name: In re Roxanne B.
Case #: B256416
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 02/25/2015
Summary

Jurisdiction findings affirmed where parents’ neglect of the minor’s mental health caused her to suffer a major depression. The 16-year-old minor, Roxanne, began showing signs of emotional problems in 2011. The Department and Roxanne’s school urged mother to seek counseling for her. Mother did not, and Roxanne was twice placed on psychiatric hold, hospitalized three times, and diagnosed with major depression. The Department filed a petition alleging serious emotional damage pursuant to section 300, subdivision (c). Following a true finding on the petition, the parents appealed, arguing that the evidence was insufficient to support the juvenile court’s finding because Roxanne was not at risk of suffering serious emotional damage, or, in the alternative, that they did not cause the damage. The parents contended that Roxanne was not emotionally damaged at the time of the jurisdiction hearing because by that time she had been in therapy, was taking medication, and had services in place. The appellate court rejected the argument and affirmed. The record shows that without the Department’s involvement, the parents were not likely to obtain treatment for Roxanne, and did not take her mental health issues seriously. Roxanne’s recent improvement did not absolve concerns for Roxanne’s safety in the context of almost two years of medical neglect by the parents. Further, the parents were a substantial cause of Roxanne’s serious emotional damage because their medical neglect clearly caused Roxanne’s depression to go untreated, persist, and worsen.