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Name: In re Travis C.
Case #: B276877
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 08/02/2017

Jurisdiction was proper under section 300(b)(1) where mother’s mental illness created a risk of harm to the minors because she failed to take her medication and continued to drive with the minors. Mother had custody of her two children, and lived with her parents. In 2015, mother began having serious mental health problems, including psychotic episodes. She also became suicidal at times. Mother sought treatment but did not consistently follow her treatment regimen. The grandparents stepped in as primary caregivers, but there were times mother threatened suicide in their presence and drove alone with the children in the car, including when she was experiencing symptoms of her illness. Mother also had a history of substance abuse, and was using marijuana daily. Mother’s psychiatrist said he was not concerned with the minors’ safety as long as the grandmother was caring for them, and as long as mother stayed on her medication. He would have concerns if mother went off her medication or if the grandmother was not involved. DCFS filed a petition alleging mother’s inability to protect the minors due to her mental illness and substance abuse. The petition was sustained, and the minors were placed with mother on the condition that they reside in the maternal grandmother’s home. A few months later a section 387 petition was filed requesting that the court remove the minors from mother, alleging additional facts concerning mother’s mental health. The minors were removed from mother and placed with father. In mother’s appeal from the jurisdiction/disposition hearing, mother contended there was insufficient evidence to support the jurisdictional findings. The appellate court rejected the argument, finding that jurisdiction was not based solely on mother’s mental illness, but the fact that she failed to take her medication, threatened suicide in the children’s presence, and drove the children in her car when she was experiencing the effects of her illness. Substantial evidence supported the jurisdiction findings. The court also rejected DCFS’s motion to dismiss the appeal for mootness, and dismissed its cross appeal as untimely.