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In re Michael H.

California Court of Appeals, Second District, Seventh Division

September 22, 2014

In re MICHAEL H., JR., et al., Persons Coming Under the Juvenile Court Law. MICHAEL H., SR., Plaintiff and Appellant,
v.
LOS ANGELES COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES, Defendant and Respondent.

APPEALS from orders of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County No. ATRJ-01, Margaret Henry, Judge.

Page 1367

COUNSEL

Michael H., Sr., in pro. per., for Plaintiff and Appellant.

John F. Krattli, County Counsel, James M. Owens, Assistant County Counsel, and Kim Nemoy, Deputy County Counsel, for Defendant and Respondent.

OPINION

SEGAL, J.

INTRODUCTION

The dependency statutes authorize designated social workers to petition the juvenile court to declare a child a dependent of the court. These statutes also permit private individuals, including a parent, to petition the social worker to file a dependency petition. If, after conducting an investigation, the social worker declines to do so, the concerned individual can seek review of that decision in the juvenile court. If the juvenile court affirms the social worker’s decision, no dependency petition is filed. Is that decision of the juvenile court an appealable order? We conclude it is not, and therefore dismiss a father’s

Page 1368

appeals from two orders affirming the decisions of social workers not to commence dependency proceedings on behalf of his sons.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

A. The Family

Michael H., Sr., (Michael H.) and his former wife, Kelly J., [1] are the parents of Michael H., Jr., (Michael) and Quincy H. (Quincy). The parents have a history of domestic violence and live separately. In June 2010 the family law court awarded the parents joint legal and physical custody of the children and specified the times the children could be with each parent.

B. The Prior Dependency Proceedings

In April 2010 the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (Department) received a referral alleging that Kelly J. had physically abused Michael.[2] The Department received a similar referral in May 2010, which included an allegation that Kelly J. had used a belt with studs, a wooden spoon, and a paddle to discipline her children. The Department offered Michael H. and Kelly J. voluntary family maintenance services, but both parents refused. During the course of its investigation, the Department confirmed that both parents disciplined Michael with corporal punishment. At a team meeting the Department concluded that the children would remain in the home of their parents under the existing family law order, directed the parents not to use corporal punishment, and determined that the Department would file a dependency petition. On August 27, 2010 the Department ...


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