Removing Custody From Parents for Excessive Corporal Punishment

In Blanca P. v. Superior Court (1996) 45 Cal.App.4th 1738, children were removed from their parents' custody after the mother struck her 17-year-old son in the face several times. A subsequent petition alleged the father had sexually molested one of the children, and that petition was sustained (id. at pp. 1741-1742); however, later evidence, including a psychological evaluation of the father, indicated that no molestation had in fact occurred. (Id. at pp. 1745-1746.) At the 18-month review hearing, the court found it would be detrimental to return the children to the parents and terminated reunification services. (Id. at p. 1747.) On appeal, the court held that a new hearing was required to determine if the father had molested the child, and if the juvenile court found he had not done so, no evidence in the record supported a finding of detriment to the children. (Id. at p. 1760.) In reaching the conclusion that there was no other evidence of detriment, the court addressed the finding of excessive corporal punishment as to the mother. (Id. at pp. 1747-1752.) The court noted that "the evidence was undisputed that the mother has said she has learned that she should not use excessive force in child discipline" (id. at p. 1751), and the parents had completed every objective measure of their reunification plans (id. at p. 1747).