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In Re C.U. et al., Persons Coming Under the Juvenile Court Law. v. A.U

April 16, 2012

IN RE C.U. ET AL., PERSONS COMING UNDER THE JUVENILE COURT LAW. SACRAMENTO COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT,
v.
A.U., DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.



(Super. Ct. Nos. JD230977, JD230978)

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hoch , J.

In re C.U.

CA3

NOT TO BE PUBLISHED

California Rules of Court, rule 8.1115(a), prohibits courts and parties from citing or relying on opinions not certified for publication or ordered published, except as specified by rule 8.1115(b). This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

Appellant, A.U., mother of the minor C.U. and C.U.'s older sibling K.U., appeals from juvenile court orders declaring the minor to be a dependent of the court and removing the minor from her physical custody.*fn1 (Welf. & Inst. Code, §§ 360, 361, 395.)*fn2 Mother contends (1) the jurisdictional findings and removal orders were not supported by substantial evidence, and (2) there is insufficient evidence to support the juvenile court's finding that reasonable efforts were made to prevent the need for removal. We conclude that there is substantial evidence to support the juvenile court's findings and orders. Accordingly, we affirm.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Mother was arrested and the then one-year-old minor, C.U., and her 15-year-old sibling, K.U., were placed into protective custody after mother grabbed K.U.'s hair and hit her multiple times with a cellular telephone battery charger, leaving visible welts and bruises on K.U.'s chest and arms. K.U. reported that mother had similarly abused her on prior occasions, hitting her with any available instrument (e.g., belts and sticks) and leaving marks and bruises on her body. K.U. also reported that mother verbally abuses the minor, is easily irritated when the minor is wet or hungry or will not sleep, and has screamed at the minor, "stupid kid, if you don't shut up, I am going [to] bust or break you[r] mouth."

Prior to removal, K.U. reported to social workers that she had been molested numerous times by mother's ex-boyfriend, A.J., both in Mexico and again after the family moved to Sacramento. K.U. reported the sexual abuse to mother, but mother did not believe her. Later, when mother brought a new boyfriend into the home, K.U. began having flashbacks of the prior abuse and, one month prior to removal, attempted suicide by ingesting an unknown amount of aspirin. When K.U. told mother what she had done, mother refused to get K.U. medical or mental health assistance. According to K.U., mother said she would not stop K.U. if K.U. attempted suicide again. K.U. told social workers she feared mother and was afraid to go home.

K.U. told authorities that mother had a history of bringing different men into the home and having sex in the same room where K.U. was sleeping. Despite mother's insistence that K.U. be nice to her boyfriends, K.U. feared either she or the minor would suffer sexual abuse at the hands of those men.

The Sacramento County Department of Health and Human Services (Department) filed juvenile dependency petitions on behalf of both children. The petition filed on behalf of C.U. alleged serious physical harm, failure to protect, failure to provide support, and abuse of sibling (§ 300, subds. (a), (b), (g) and (j)).

Following a contested jurisdictional hearing, the juvenile court sustained the allegations in the petitions, adjudged the minor and K.U. dependents of the juvenile court pursuant to section 300, subdivisions (a), (b)(1), (b)(2), (g), and (j), continued out-of-home placement in foster care, and ordered reunification services for mother. The court ordered a 60-day progress report to address the issue of the appropriateness of the minor's return to mother. The court also set a six-month review hearing pursuant to section 366.21, subdivision (e).

DISCUSSION

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