Child Removal Example Cases in California

In In re Henry V. (2004) 119 Cal.App.4th 522, the court reversed the removal order of a child who sustained burn marks of undetermined origin and whose mother had bonding deficiencies. (Henry V., supra, 119 Cal.App.4th at pp. 527, 531.) The court reasoned the physical abuse was a single occurrence and the mother was fully cooperative in taking advantage of the services offered to her. In addition, removal had been premised on the need to complete a bonding study but there was no evidence the study could not occur with the child living at home. Rather, the social worker acknowledged that in-home bonding services, unannounced visits and public health nursing services could address the bonding issue and mitigate the risk of further physical abuse. (Id. at p. 529.) In In re Jeannette S. (1979) 94 Cal.App.3d 52, the mother and father were divorced. Social workers had visited the mother's home and "found it dirty and cluttered with debris. There were extensive dog feces on the kitchen floor and cat feces in the bathroom. The house smelled of urine and there was spoiled food on the stove. The minor had been forced to sleep on the couch in the living room because her bedroom was such a mess." (Jeannette S., supra, 94 Cal.App.3d at pp. 55-56.) The Court, however, found the juvenile court's dispositional order removing custody from the parents was inappropriate because the juvenile court had two reasonable alternatives to removal. It could have imposed "stringent conditions of supervision by the welfare department with the warning that if the mother again let her house get filthy or failed to keep the minor in clean clothes and to properly care for her that appellant would lose custody of the child." Alternatively, the court could have placed the minor with her father. (Id. at p. 60.)