In re J.P., a Person Coming Under the Juvenile Court Law. SANTA CLARA COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF FAMILY AND CHILDREN'S SERVICES, Plaintiff and Respondent,
M.D., Defendant and Appellant.
Court: Santa Clara County Super. Ct. No. 17JD024630 Hon.
Amber Rosen Trial Judge:
Counsel for Plaintiff/Respondent: Santa Clara County
Department of Family and Children's Services James R.
Williams, County Counsel Hilary T. Kerrigan, Deputy County
Counsel for Minor: J.P., No appearance
Counsel for Defendant/Appellant: M.D. Under Appointment of
the Court of Appeal Leslie A. Barry Michelle Jarvis
(mother) appeals from the juvenile court's order granting
her ex boyfriend (Albert) visitation with her son, J.P.
Mother argues that the juvenile court did not have the
authority to order visitation with nonparents like Albert,
and, even if such an order was permitted, the circumstances
did not warrant granting Albert visitation with J.P. We
disagree and conclude that the juvenile court did not abuse
its discretion when it made the visitation order after
determining that it would be in J.P.'s best interest. We
14, 2017, the Santa Clara County Department of Family and
Children's Services (Department) filed a petition under
Welfare and Institutions Code section 300, subdivision
(b)(1) alleging that J.P. (born 2013) came
under the juvenile court's jurisdiction. The petition
alleged that mother had been arrested for driving under the
influence. J.P. and his younger half brother, A.A., were
taken into protective custody.
stepmother said that Albert, mother, J.P., and A.A. lived
with her from September or October 2016 through February or
March 2017. Albert told the social worker that he was not
J.P.'s biological father but wanted to legally adopt him.
Albert was A.A.'s biological father. J.P.'s
biological father, L.P., was not involved in J.P.'s life,
but he was ordered to pay child support for J.P.
initial hearing on the dependency petition, the juvenile
court found Albert to be A.A.'s presumed father and found
L.P. to be J.P.'s presumed father. The juvenile court
further found that a prima facie showing had been made that
both children came within its jurisdiction and ordered them
removed from mother and Albert's custody.
interviews, Albert indicated to the Department that he wanted
to be designated as J.P.'s presumed parent. Mother and
Albert had separated during the dependency proceedings and
did not intend to resume their relationship. Albert said that
J.P. called him “dad, ” and he referred to J.P.
as his son even though he was not J.P.'s biological
father. Mother claimed that Albert had problems with alcohol,
smoked heavily, and scared the children when he got into loud
arguments. The Department determined that mother had a
“long standing alcohol issue” and Albert was
“well intentioned” but had a difficult time
maintaining boundaries with mother to keep the children safe.
The Department further determined that Albert had prior
instances where he drank excessively.
the jurisdictional hearing, mother alleged that Albert had
committed domestic violence against her. Albert denied the
allegations of abuse but conceded that he got into verbal
altercations with mother. Mother had requested a restraining
order against Albert, and a temporary restraining order was
in effect at the time the Department prepared its addendum to
the jurisdictional report. Police had responded several times
to reports of disturbances between mother and Albert.
August 23, 2017, the juvenile court held a jurisdictional
hearing and found the allegations in the dependency petition
to be true. The court held a dispositional hearing several
weeks later and declared both J.P. and A.A. to be dependents
of the court. Services were ordered for mother and Albert.
For J.P., the juvenile court ordered supervised visits with
mother and L.P. For A.A., the juvenile court ordered
supervised visits with mother and Albert.
November 2017, J.P. and A.A. were moved from their foster
home placement to their paternal grandparents'
(Albert's parents') home. L.P. had not made his
whereabouts known to the Department, and he had not had any
visits with J.P.
preparation for the six month review, the Department prepared
a status review report that recommended J.P. be returned to
mother's care under a plan of family maintenance and
services for L.P. be terminated. The Department also
recommended A.A. be returned to both mother and Albert and
family maintenance be offered for mother and Albert's
separate households. According to the report, the domestic
violence case initiated by mother against Albert had been
dismissed. Both parents had been consistent with visiting
both children, and the Department believed the quality of
visits was good. The children “show[ed] comfort”
in Albert's presence, and Albert appeared to be hands on
with the children when they were with him. Albert ensured
that the children were fed, took ...