Contact Between a Sexually Abused Child His Paren In California

In Los Angeles County Dept. of Children & Family Services v. Superior Court (Ethan G.) (2006) 145 Cal.App.4th 692, the Court held that, where a juvenile court determines that all contact between a sexually abused child and its offending parent must be monitored to protect the child from further sexual abuse, the court may not permit the offending parent to reside in the family home by designating the non-offending parent as the monitor. (Ethan G., supra, 145 Cal.App.4th at p. 694.) Ethan G. was the adopted son of Maurice G. and David P. the DCFS removed seven-year-old Ethan from the custody of Maurice G. after he disclosed that Maurice G. had molested him. (Id. at p. 695.) At the disposition hearing, the juvenile court declared Ethan a dependent child of the court based on its finding that Maurice G. sexually abused Ethan on prior occasions. (Ibid.) The court ordered that Ethan remain released to David P. and that Maurice G. be provided with monitored visitation and family reunification services, but prohibited Maurice G. from residing in the family home. (Id. at pp. 695-696.) At a subsequent judicial review hearing, the court decided to continue its dependency jurisdiction over Ethan based on its finding that the conditions that necessitated the court's initial intervention still existed. (Id. at p. 698.) The court then ordered that Ethan remain in the home of David P., but allowed Maurice G. to return to the family home on the condition that his contact with Ethan be monitored at all times. (Ibid.) the DCFS challenged this portion of the court's order in a petition for writ of mandate. In reviewing the visitation order in Ethan G., we first noted that the juvenile court, in issuing that order, made an express finding that continued jurisdiction was necessary "'because conditions do continue to exist which necessitated this court's initial intervention.'" (Ethan G., supra, 145 Cal.App.4th at p. 698.) Because the court's dependency jurisdiction was based solely on the prior sexual abuse of Ethan, that finding necessarily meant that the court had determined that further sexual abuse was likely to occur if it terminated its jurisdiction and allowed Maurice G. to return to the family home without restrictions. (Id. at pp. 698-699.) Additionally, the Court noted that the court made an implied finding that Maurice G. continued to pose a risk of harm to Ethan when it decided in its visitation order that all contact between Maurice G. and Ethan had to be monitored. (Id. at p. 699.) The Court concluded that, under such circumstances, the juvenile court had abused its discretion in allowing Maurice G. to return to the family home while a substantial danger of further sexual abuse of Ethan still existed. (Ethan G., supra, 145 Cal.App.4th at p. 699.) As we explained, "David P. is employed full time; Maurice G. was a stay-at-home parent. Even if David P. and Maurice G. are able to arrange for David P.'s mother or another responsible adult to monitor Ethan and Maurice G.'s interactions during the time David is at work, living together in the family residence will necessarily mean periods exist, even if somewhat brief (for example, when David P. is asleep or showering), when the designated monitor will be unavailable. at least when the threat to the dependent child is the likely recurrence of sexual abuse, the concept of monitored visitation is fundamentally incompatible with around-the-clock in-home contact." (Ibid.) On that basis, we directed the juvenile court to vacate its order permitting Maurice G. to return to the family home on the condition that all his contact with Ethan be monitored, and to enter a new order prohibiting Maurice G. from living in, or spending the night at, the family residence until the court determined, following an adequate evidentiary hearing, that Ethan would not be endangered by an order allowing Maurice G. to have unmonitored contact with him. (Id. at p. 700.)