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In re Christopher R.

California Court of Appeals, Second District, Seventh Division

April 14, 2014

In re CHRISTOPHER R. et al., Persons Coming Under the Juvenile Court Law.
v.
v. CRYSTAL R. et al., Defendants and Appellants.

APPEAL from orders of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County, No. CK99150 Marilyn Kading Martinez, Juvenile Court Referee.

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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COUNSEL

Cristina Gabrielidis, under appointment by the Court of Appeal, for Defendant and Appellant, Crystal R.

Janette Freeman Cochran, under appointment by the Court of Appeal, for Defendant and Appellant, Frank G.

John F. Krattli, County Counsel, James M. Owens, Assistant County Counsel, and William D. Thetford, Principal Deputy County Counsel, for Plaintiff and Respondent.

OPINION

PERLUSS, P. J.

Crystal R., the mother of seven-year-old Christopher R., six-year-old Natalie M., three-year-old Francisco M., and infant Brianna G., and Frank G., the presumed father of Brianna, appeal from the jurisdiction findings and disposition orders declaring the children dependents of the juvenile court after the court sustained a petition pursuant to Welfare and Institutions Code section 300, subdivision (b), [1] alleging that Crystal had a seven-year history of substance abuse and was a current abuser of cocaine rendering her unable to provide regular care and supervision of her four children and that Frank had a history of illicit drug abuse and was a current abuser of marijuana rendering him unable to provide regular care and supervision of Brianna. Crystal does not seriously challenge the findings and order as to Brianna, who tested positive for cocaine, amphetamine and methamphetamine at birth, but argues the evidence was insufficient to establish jurisdiction over her other children or to remove them from her custody. Frank, who is the father only of Brianna, [2] likewise does not challenge the court’s findings with respect to Crystal and Brianna, but contends the evidence of his past marijuana use and criminal history is insufficient to show he is unable to provide regular care for his child. We affirm.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

The Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (Department) received a child abuse referral after both Crystal and Brianna

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tested positive for cocaine at Brianna’s birth. Brianna also tested positive for amphetamine and methamphetamine. Crystal admitted she had started using cocaine when she was 16 years old (seven years before the filing of the dependency petition in this case) but insisted she had stopped when she was 17 and had not used the drug since that time. She denied using cocaine during her pregnancy and could not explain how she and Brianna had tested positive. Subsequently Crystal claimed she had picked up a small container of cocaine for someone else during her eighth month of pregnancy and had tasted it to be sure it was cocaine. Brianna was born three days later, approximately one month before Crystal’s due date.

Brianna weighed five pounds one ounce when born and, because of respiratory issues, had to be fed intravenously and was on oxygen. She remained in the hospital for 25 days but did not have any withdrawal symptoms and no ongoing health issues.

At the time of the child abuse report Crystal, Christopher (then six years old) and Francisco (then two years old) were living with a cousin, Estella, and Estella’s family in Bellflower. Crystal, however, did not know Estella’s address or telephone number. Natalie (then five years old) was living with a maternal great aunt in Las Vegas. All three children appeared healthy and had no marks, bruises or other visible signs of abuse.

Estella watched the two boys when Crystal went out—sometimes returning the same day; sometimes not until the following day. Crystal did not let Estella know where she was going when she left the children in her care. Estella told the Department’s social worker she had no knowledge whether Crystal had a ...


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