Appealing the Juvenile Dependency Court's Jurisdiction in California

In In re Daisy H. (2011) 192 Cal.App.4th 713, the father appealed the juvenile dependency court's jurisdiction and dispositional orders declaring his children dependents of the court and removing them from his custody because of the parents committing domestic violence while in the process of divorcing. The juvenile court sustained domestic violence allegations that father had on prior occasions choked the mother, pulled her hair and, in the presence of one of the children, threatened to kill the mother. (Daisy H., supra, 192 Cal.App.4th at p. 715.) The court also sustained the allegation that father had mental and emotional problems preventing him from caring for the children. (Ibid.) The Daisy H. court reversed the lower court, holding the juvenile court erred in finding jurisdiction over the children. The court concluded there was insufficient evidence that the children were at risk of physical or emotional harm. (Id. at p. 711.) The court explained in Daisy H. that under section 300, subdivision (b), requires "proof that the child suffered or is at substantial risk of suffering 'serious physical harm or illness, as a result of the failure or inability of his or her parent or guardian to adequately supervise or protect the child. . . .'" (Daisy H., supra, 192 Cal.App.4th at p. 717.) The Daisy H. court further stated that, as to a domestic violence allegation, "Physical violence between a child's parents may support the exercise of jurisdiction under section 300, subdivision (b), but only if there is evidence that the violence is ongoing or likely to continue and that it directly harmed the child physically or placed the child at risk of physical harm. (In re Janet T. (2001) 93 Cal.App.4th 377, 391; In re Heather A. (1996) 52 Cal.App.4th 183, 194-195.)" (Id. at p. 717.)