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Name: In re S.T. et al.
Case #: F087133
Opinion Date: 06/17/2024
Attorney: Susan M. O'Brien

The Court of Appeal found the juvenile court erred in denying mother’s request for family maintenance services for her three younger children. There was insufficient evidence on the record of clear and convincing evidence pursuant to Welfare and Institutions Code section 361, subdivision (c) of substantial danger to the physical health, safety, protection, or physical or emotional well-being of the children, and no reasonable means by which those children’s physical health could be protected without removing them from her care. Further, there was insufficient evidence on the record of whether reasonable efforts were made to prevent or eliminate the need for removal of the children from mother’s care, as required by section 361, subdivision (e), because the Department of Social Services failed to consider alternatives to removal of the children from her care, as required by California Rules of Court, rule 5.690(a)(1)(B)(i).

The Court of Appeal reversed the juvenile court’s order as to mother and her request for family maintenance. The matter was remanded for a new hearing in conformity with the statutes and California Rules of Court discussed above. On remand, the juvenile court must make its decision based on the facts existing at the time of the new hearing.