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In re R.F. CA4/3

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In re R.F. CA4/3
By
05/14/18

Filed 5/1/18 In re R.F. CA4/3





NOT TO BE PUBLISHED IN OFFICIAL REPORTS

California Rules of Court, rule 8.1115(a), prohibits courts and parties from citing or relying on opinions not certified for publication or ordered published, except as specified by rule 8.1115(b). This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

IN THE COURT OF APPEAL OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

FOURTH APPELLATE DISTRICT

DIVISION THREE


In re R.F., a Person Coming Under the Juvenile Court Law.

ORANGE COUNTY SOCIAL SERVICES AGENCY,

Plaintiff and Respondent,

v.

E.F.,

Defendant and Appellant.



G055633

(Super. Ct. No. 16DP0999)

O P I N I O N

Appeal from an order of the Superior Court of Orange County, Craig E. Arthur, Judge. Affirmed.
Arthur J. LaCilento, under appointment by the Court of Appeal, for Defendant and Appellant.
Leon J. Page, County Counsel, Karen L. Christensen and Robert N. Ervais, Deputy County Counsel, for Plaintiff and Respondent.
No appearance on behalf of the Minor.
* * *
E.F. (Father) appeals from the juvenile court’s order pursuant to Welfare and Institutions Code section 364, subdivision (c) (all further statutory references are to the Welfare and Institutions Code), continuing jurisdiction over his four-year-old son, R.F. Finding no error, we affirm.
FACTS
I. Detention
In its detention report on September 9, 2016, the Orange County Social Services Agency (SSA) stated it had received a report alleging general neglect by N.F. (Mother) and Father due to ongoing domestic violence within the home. Additional concerns included Mother’s drug and alcohol abuse.
Father acknowledged several incidents in which Mother was physically abusive towards him, including striking Father with a metal broomstick and throwing a knife at him. Father recalled one time when Mother drove while under the influence with R.F. in the car. Father stated Mother participated in an intensive inpatient treatment program for anger management and alcoholism, but Mother continued to drink. Father believed Mother was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
The paternal aunt (Aunt), stated she was close to the family and was Mother’s and Father’s “‘confidant.’” Aunt stated Mother had a serious alcohol problem. Aunt further believed Mother did not consistently take required psychotropic medication. Mother became noticeably aggressive when not on medication. Aunt reported witnessing domestic violence incidents between the parents.
Mother acknowledged working with therapists on her mental health issues. She denied knowledge of any formal diagnosis but believed she was being treated for depression. She came from an abusive home and began drinking at age 14. Mother denied having an alcohol problem and claimed she had not consumed alcohol in over a year. She stated Father drank every work night. She admitted to physical altercations with Father, but stated R.F. only witnessed verbal altercations. In one incident, she stated Father beat her up, pushed her, held her in a closet, threw her belongings, blocked her from leaving the bedroom, and locked her car keys, cell phone, and wallet in a safe. Mother called the police regarding the incident. She believed Father had an anger problem and other mental health issues stemming from post-traumatic stress disorder caused by his military service. SSA recommended R.F. remain in the care of Mother and Father with the protective orders in place.
SSA filed a non-custody petition on behalf of R.F., pursuant to section 300, subdivision (b), failure to protect. SSA alleged general neglect by Mother and Father. The petition also alleged Mother’s history of alcohol abuse, as well as Mother’s history of mental health issues.
At the detention hearing, the juvenile court determined SSA made a prima facie showing and ordered R.F. detained from Mother and placed R.F. with Father. The court authorized Mother would have liberal visitation with R.F. The court set a jurisdictional hearing.
II. Jurisdiction/Disposition
SSA filed a jurisdiction/disposition report on October 11, 2016, followed by four addendum reports. In the jurisdiction/disposition report, SSA recommended the juvenile court sustain the dependency petition, declare R.F. a dependent of the court, grant family maintenance services to Father, and offer family reunification services to Mother.
SSA reported the parents described themselves as the victim of domestic violence, with each claiming the other was the primary aggressor. Father alleged Mother had an alcohol abuse problem and stated Mother used methamphetamine, ecstasy, and cocaine in the past. Mother contended she had stopped drinking, but later admitted to self-medicating with alcohol. Mother reported she was under the care of a psychiatrist for panic attacks and took prescription medication.
Mother maintained Father had a problem with alcohol. Father denied current problems with drinking, but admitted to a previous conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol. Father stated he typically consumed one glass of red wine on most nights, but denied using alcohol to excess.
SSA noted Mother was referred to Mariposa Women’s Center for substance abuse treatment, counseling, and parenting classes. Mother was also referred for drug testing. Mother began attending AA meetings and had a sponsor. Mother attended her regularly scheduled visitation with R.F.
Father was also in therapy and was referred for drug testing. Father provided a certificate showing completion of a 52-week domestic violence prevention class in June 2016.
In the first addendum report dated November 15, 2016, SSA stated Mother enrolled in the Mariposa Women’s Center outpatient program, attending individual and group therapy. During this time, Mother missed one drug test, provided diluted samples for two drug tests, and had one positive drug test. Father also tested positive for Amphetamine 1000 and Amphetamine, but SSA confirmed with Father’s doctor that prescription medicine for ADHD would result in a positive drug test.
In the second addendum report dated December 19, 2016, SSA noted Mother continued to attend and participate in weekly group therapy sessions and monthly individual therapy sessions. Mother’s therapist reported progress. Mother failed to drug test from November 15, 2016, to December 15, 2016. Mother continued to regularly visit R.F., and R.F. appeared to enjoy time spent with Mother. Father continued to care for R.F., but was plagued by negative feelings toward Mother.
The third addendum report dated January 26, 2017, stated Mother struggled to comply with her case plan services and was not consistent with visitation. Mother continued to have missed, diluted, and positive drug tests. Mother’s therapist reported Mother missed counseling sessions. Mother stated she was very depressed.
The fourth addendum report dated February 16, 2017, stated Mother missed another drug test and tested positive twice due to prescribed Xanax. Mother was actively participating in therapy and her case plan services. Father expressed concern about the effect of Mother’s behavior on R.F. Father stated R.F. cried often, did not want to visit Mother, and told school staff he did not want to see Mother. R.F.’s therapist reported R.F. struggled with Mother’s inconsistent visitation.
The court held a jurisdiction hearing on February 23, 2017. Mother submitted and Father pled no contest to SSA’s allegations. The juvenile court found true SSA’s allegation under section 300, subdivision (b), and declared R.F. a dependent of the court. Father maintained custody of R.F. The court removed R.F. from Mother’s custody. The court granted Father family maintenance services and Mother family reunification services.
III. Six-Month Review
SSA filed the six-month status review report on May 26, 2017, followed by two addendum reports. In the six-month status review report, SSA recommended terminating dependency proceedings with exit orders. SSA believed although Mother had not completed all components of the case plan, risk was minimal for R.F. to continue in Father’s care. Father continued to be stable, completed all services on the case plan, and provided for R.F. R.F. was content and thriving in Father’s care. Father continued to participate in therapy and his therapist stated Father had made significant progress in addressing issues that brought R.F. into protective custody. SSA noted Mother’s visitation was supervised at the Orangewood Children and Family Center and there were no reported concerns.
In the first addendum report dated July 21, 2017, SSA reported Mother’s visitation had changed. The parents’ peaceful-contact-only restraining order allowed them to exchange R.F. without supervision. SSA noted a schedule was worked out between Father and Mother where Mother picked R.F. up at the Rancho Santa Margarita sheriff substation every Monday and Wednesday. The Father and Mother reported they do not communicate with each other during this exchange. Father and Mother reported they communicate through the Talking Parents e-mail website.
The contested six-month review hearing began on August 24, 2017. Testimony showed R.F., who had previously been doing well in play therapy every other week, had begun to have increased anxiety. R.F.’s therapist recommended play therapy be increased to weekly sessions. Father also testified there had been difficulty with R.F. refusing to visit with Mother. Father testified to having a short temper. Mother testified she had witnessed Father express signs of anger on several occasions over the past few months, at least once with a child present.
At the hearing, SSA informed the juvenile court that based on the testimony during the proceedings, SSA no longer recommended terminating the proceedings, but instead requested the case remain open for six more months of supervision. SSA’s changed recommendation was due to the amount of anger and discord between the parents and how the parents’ toxic relationship was affecting R.F.
Counsel for R.F. also urged the court to keep the case open and offer further services. Mother’s counsel acknowledged the conditions justifying jurisdiction had not yet been resolved, and asked the court to continue jurisdiction and to continue offering services. Father’s counsel, however, argued for the termination of jurisdiction with an exit order granting Father primary physical custody of R.F. and monitored visitation for Mother.
The court determined, pursuant to section 364, subdivision (c), conditions still existed which justified initial assumption of jurisdiction and were likely to exist if the court removed its supervision. The court explained: “I think that the history of domestic violence, the tension between the parents is creating an issue and a problem for [R.F.]. Hence the anxiety. Hence the therapy for [R.F.]. Hence the problem with the parents not being able to agree on what the visitation for mom should be, which is really, kind of, how this hearing all started . . . .” The court believed it would be an injustice to the family to close the case, and it continued jurisdiction and set a six-month review hearing for April 23, 2018.
DISCUSSION
Father contends the court erred when it did not terminate jurisdiction. We disagree.
“After the juvenile court finds a child is a person described in section 300, it must ‘hear evidence on the question of the proper disposition to be made of the child.’ [Citation.] In appropriate circumstances, the court may declare the child a dependent, and ‘without removing the child from his or her home, order family maintenance services to ameliorate the conditions that made the child subject to the court’s jurisdiction.’ [Citation.] Once a child has been declared a dependent, the juvenile court must review the status of the child every six months. [Citations.] . . . [S]ection 364 provides the standard when ‘a child under the supervision of the juvenile court . . . is not removed from the physical custody of his or her parent or guardian.’ [Citations.]” (In re Aurora P. (2015) 241 Cal.App.4th 1142, 1154-1155, fns. omitted (Aurora P.).) At the section 364 review hearing, the juvenile court determines whether dependency should be terminated or whether further supervision is necessary based on the totality of the circumstances. (Id. at p. 1155.)
“Section 364[, subdivision] (c)[,] establishes a ‘statutory presumption in favor of terminating jurisdiction and returning the children to the parents’ care without court supervision.’ [Citation.] Under the statute, the juvenile court ‘shall terminate its jurisdiction unless the social worker or his or her department establishes by a preponderance of evidence that the conditions still exist which would justify initial assumption of jurisdiction under [s]ection 300, or that those conditions are likely to exist if supervision is withdrawn.’ [Citation.] While the statute speaks in terms of the social worker or department establishing the basis for the continuation of dependency jurisdiction, the first sentence of section 364[, subdivision] (c)[,] makes clear that the parent, the guardian, or the child may offer evidence on that question. [Citation.] Furthermore, even if the social worker or department recommends termination of dependency jurisdiction, the juvenile court is not bound by that recommendation and may retain jurisdiction ‘if there is a preponderance of evidence that the conditions are such to justify that retention.’ [Citations.]” (Aurora P., supra, 241 Cal.App.4th at p. 1155.)
On appeal, we review the required findings under section 364 for substantial evidence. (In re N.S. (2002) 97 Cal.App.4th 167, 172.) “In reviewing the sufficiency of the evidence on appeal, we look to the entire record for substantial evidence to support the findings of the juvenile court.” [Citations.]” (Ibid.) Evidence sufficient to support a trial court’s finding must be reasonable, credible, and of solid value. (In re J.F. (2014) 228 Cal.App.4th 202, 209.)
Here, the juvenile court’s findings and orders were supported by substantial evidence. Testimony showed the parents continued to have tension over custody issues, which appeared to be causing R.F. anxiety.
We acknowledge the record showed evidence of Father caring for R.F. By all accounts, R.F. was doing well in Father’s care, except for the recent increase in anxiety. Father complied with all of his case plan services, but acknowledged the high level of discord between himself and Mother. We commend Father for completing his case plan. Despite this good performance, sufficient evidence supported the juvenile court’s concerns the same conditions that justified the initial assumption of jurisdiction were likely to exist if supervision was withdrawn.

DISPOSITION
The order is affirmed.


O’LEARY, P. J.

WE CONCUR:



BEDSWORTH, J.



MOORE, J.





Description E.F. (Father) appeals from the juvenile court’s order pursuant to Welfare and Institutions Code section 364, subdivision (c) (all further statutory references are to the Welfare and Institutions Code), continuing jurisdiction over his four-year-old son, R.F. Finding no error, we affirm.
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