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In re D.P.

California Court of Appeals, Second District, Third Division

April 23, 2014

In re D.P., A Person Coming Under the Juvenile Court Law. LOS ANGELES COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES, Plaintiff and Respondent,
v.
DIAMOND P., Defendant and Appellant.

APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County, No. CK97013 Albert J. Garcia, Juvenile Court Referee. (Pursuant to Cal. Const., art. VI, § 21.).

Page 899

COUNSEL

Donna B. Kaiser, under appointment by the Court of Appeal, for Defendant and Appellant.

John F. Krattli, County Counsel, James M. Owens, Assistant County Counsel, and Aileen Wong, Deputy County Counsel, for Plaintiff and Respondent.

OPINION

CROSKEY, J.

Diamond P. (mother) challenges the juvenile’s court’s jurisdictional finding that her two-year-old daughter, D.P., suffered serious physical harm or was at substantial risk of suffering serious physical harm inflicted

Page 900

nonaccidentally by mother. Mother contends that there was no substantial evidence showing that she abused D.P. or that D.P. was at risk of abuse by mother. We disagree and affirm.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

D.P. was born in May 2011. Mother lived with Matthew F. (father) at the paternal great-grandmother’s house until D.P. was seven or eight months old. At that time, mother and father separated, but maintained joint custody of D.P. D.P. moved from one parent’s home to the other, staying with each parent for one to two weeks at a time.

On December 14, 2012, mother dropped D.P. off at father’s home after a two week stay. When D.P.’s hat and jacket were removed, father and great grandmother noticed that D.P. had bruises on her face, bruising and scab wounds that looked like bite marks on her shoulders and chest area, and a swollen eye. Father called the police and D.P. was taken to the hospital. D.P. was diagnosed as having a “scalp hematoma” that was “most likely caused by trauma.” Two doctors at the hospital said that the trauma was most likely non-accidental.

The police reported the case to the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (Department), and the Department interviewed mother. Mother said she did not know how D.P. suffered the head injury, but denied that D.P. had fallen or hit her head against anything. She said the marks on D.P.’s body were caused by other small children who bit her at a party. Mother further stated that during the two weeks D.P. was with her, only mother and her roommate took care of the child.

The social worker also interviewed mother’s boyfriend, who lived with her, and mother’s cousin. The boyfriend denied having caused D.P.’s injuries, but admitted to using cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamines. Mother’s cousin said that both mother and her boyfriend smoked marijuana frequently. The cousin believed mother was also using other illicit drugs because mother had recently “ ‘dramatically lost weight’ ” and her behavior had changed: mother had recently stopped seeing her family, and mother’s boyfriend appeared to be “controlling her.” The cousin ...


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