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Name: In re S.O.
Case #: D040242
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 11/01/2002
Subsequent History: Review Denied December 18, 2002
Summary

A dependency was initiated regarding S.O.’s six siblings because the minors were exposed to violent confrontations in the family home between the parents and sexual abuse by the father. Following detention, father moved out, but mother allowed him unsupervised visits. Mother gave birth to S.O. and allowed father to pick her up at the hospital. Social workers opined that mother was not a danger to the children as long as father stayed away, but that mother had demonstrated her inability to keep him away. When asked if she intended to reunite with father, mother stated that she didn’t know. The petition alleged that the minors were at risk of harm due to the domestic violence and father’s sexual abuse. On appeal, mother argued that the petition failed to state a cause of action because it failed to allege a current risk of serious harm, since she was no longer living with father. The appellate court found the issue waived, as there had been no demurrer below. Further, the court found that even if it the issue were not waived, it was not meritorious since the petition alleged mother’s failure to protect from father. The appellate court also found that there was sufficient evidence to support the true finding on the petition. Mother’s prior failures to protect the children from father demonstrated a risk of continuing harm to them.