Parental Neglect Unnecessary In A Finding Of Dependency Court Jurisdiction Based On Parental Failure or Inability To Adequately Protect A Child
Maricela H. was an out-of-control teenager. She used drugs, drank, fought, and stopped going to school. In 2010, when she was 15 years old, she gave birth to a child. Despite her mother's best efforts to control her, Maricela continued engaging in risky, self-destructive behavior. She frequently ran away for days at a time, chased after older men, had unprotected sex, and used drugs and alcohol.
In 2011, when Maricela left home yet again, mother filed a police report and called the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services.
The county detained Maricela and filed a dependency petition alleging Maricela was at risk of suffering serious physical harm or illness as a result of her mother's failure or inability to supervise or protect her adequately.
The dependency court sustained the county's petition. Mother Maria A. appealed, arguing substantial evidence did not support jurisdiction because there is no evidence of parental neglect.