County's Evidence Failed to Establish Parents Knew Someone Was Harming Their Child

October 16, 2012, by Law Offices of James V. Sansone
By Law Offices of James V. Sansone on October 16, 2012 8:00 AM |

girlincourt.jpgThe Second Appellate District affirmed a dependency court order of dismissal. The court held that substantial evidence supported the dependency court's finding that a county family services agency failed to show that the parents of an injured child knew or should have known that someone was injuring their child.

Nine-month old Roberto C. fell unconscious while in the care of his babysitter. He was rushed to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with a brain bleed. Shaken baby syndrome was suspected.

The Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services filed a dependency petition, alleging that Roberto's parents either caused his injury, failed to protect him from injury, or knew that someone who had contact with Roberto was injuring him.

During a two-day hearing, the babysitter testified that Roberto was happy and healthy when he was dropped off with her on the day of his hospitalization and fell suddenly unconscious later in the day. His only injury he had ever suffered in her care was a minor bruise sustained when he bumped his head on his walker.

Both physicians testified that Roberto's condition appeared to have been caused by nonaccidental injury.The county employee testified about concerns that Roberto's parents had not diligently investigated bruises sustained by Roberto while in the care of his babysitter.

The dependency court granted the parents' motion to dismiss the petition, finding the evidence insufficient to show that Roberto's parents injured him, failed to protect him from injury, or left him in the care of a person they knew, or had reason to know, was injuring him.

The Law Offices of James V. Sansone offers a full range of family law legal services including divorce, domestic violence, and enforcement of court orders. We are located in Santa Rosa, California and serve clients throughout Sonoma County, Mendocino County, and Lake County, including Santa Rosa, Petaluma, Cotati, Rohnert Park, Sebastopol, Healdsburg, Sonoma, Kenwood, Glen Ellen, Windsor, Bodega Bay, Ukiah, Willits, Clearlake, Lakeport, and Kelseyville.