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In re I.I.

California Court of Appeals, Second District, First Division

December 3, 2019

In re I.I. et al., Persons Coming Under the Juvenile Court Law. LOS ANGELES COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES, Plaintiff and Respondent,
v.
M.I., Defendant and Appellant I.I. et al., Minors, Respondents.

          APPEAL from an order of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County, No. 19CCJP01193 Martha A. Matthews, Judge.

          Megan Turkat Schirn, under appointment by the Court of Appeal, for Defendant and Appellant M.I.

          Mary C. Wickham, County Counsel, Kristine P. Miles, Assistant County Counsel, and Sarah Vesecky, Deputy County Counsel, for Plaintiff and Respondent Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services.

          Neale Gold, under appointment by the Court of Appeal, for Respondents I.I. and M.I., Jr., Minors.

          ROTHSCHILD, P. J.

         Appellant M.I. (Father) challenges the juvenile court's jurisdictional order and findings that his children, I.I. (born in 2016) and M.I., Jr. (born in 2017) (the Minors), are persons described by Welfare and Institutions Code section 300, subdivision (f), [1] based on the juvenile court's previously sustained petition finding that the Minors' mother, R.R. (Mother), and Father caused the death of a child through abuse or neglect. Father argues that, because the court found there was no current risk to the children, the court erred in finding that the Minors were persons described under section 300, subdivision (f). As we explain, the court is required to sustain a petition and assert jurisdiction if the facts described in section 300, subdivision (f) exist. And because it was uncontroverted that, in the earlier case, the juvenile court had found Mother and Father caused the death of their child through abuse or neglect, the court did not err in asserting jurisdiction here. Accordingly, we affirm.

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND[2]

         The family consisted of Father, Mother, the Minors, the Minors' siblings (twins Ad.R. and A.R. (born in 2010) (collectively the twins)) and the Minors' half siblings, R.V. (born in 2006), S.V. (born in 2007), and S.R. (born in 2013).[3]

         A. Prior Child Welfare History

         In the summer of 2010, Mother gave birth to the twins. In November 2010, Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) received a referral that Mother had taken the four month-old twins to the hospital and that medical personnel had determined they were suffering from injuries consistent with Shaken Baby Syndrome. DCFS investigated and filed a juvenile dependency petition on behalf of the twins and their half siblings, R.V. and S.R., under section 300, subdivisions (b), (e), and (f), alleging that the twins were suffering from severe brain injuries consistent with nonaccidental trauma and that all four children were at substantial risk of harm based on the twins' injuries. Twin Ad.R. died in 2011 as a result of his injuries.

         The court detained the children from the parents.[4] The court subsequently sustained the petition, continued the foster care placement of the twin, A.R., and ordered reunification services for the family.[5] Mother and Father failed to reunify with A.R. In 2014, their parental rights to A.R. were terminated, and the foster parents adopted A.R.

         B. Current Proceedings

         The parents ended their relationship. Thereafter, Mother had a relationship with another man, which resulted in the birth of half sibling, S.R., in 2013. Mother and Father subsequently reunited, and the Minors, I.I. in 2016 and M.I. in 2017, were born as a result of that relationship. The parents, the Minors, and half sibling S.R. lived together. Half siblings R.V. and S.V. periodically stayed with them.

         On November 28, 2018, the family came to the attention of DCFS again when DCFS received a referral alleging that Mother took two-year-old I.I. to the emergency room because she had a vaginal rash. Although the examining physician suspected that the child had vaginal herpes and thus was a possible victim of sexual abuse, subsequent examinations revealed that a yeast infection caused the rash and that the child had no signs of ...


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