Family Law

Recent Dependency Law Cases

DEPENDENCY (current through 2/20/2024)

By:  John Nieman

The precise holdings in a given case are bolded.

In re Samantha. F.

In re Samantha. F.
2/22/24, CA 4/2 E080888

This is an Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) case. Father appeals termination of his parental rights for failure to adequately inquire into her native American ancestry. This appellate court also sides with the In re Delila D., published7/21/23 [(CA 4/2: E080389) Reviewed here. Review was granted by the Supreme Court on 9/27, S281447], that issuance of a protective custody warrant vis Welfare and Institutions Code (W&I) §340 does not impact the depth of inquiry required by W&I §224.2. This is a pretty clear-cut case in the sense that it squarely agrees with Delila D., that the method of removal, with or without a warrant, is immaterial to the question of applicability of 224.2. This case adds 2 novel arguments into the fray, firstly that W&I §306 describes all children as being in temporary custody, including those delivered to the social worker as directed therein after issuance of a protective custody warrant pursuant to W&I §340. It asserts that a warrant issued to remove a child from a parent is called a “protective custody warrant” but that all custody references in W&I §306 are about temporary custody and that all removed children initially before the juvenile court are in temporary custody. It points out that the code sections contained in Article 7 of the W&I code where W&I §306 resides equate “temporary” and “protective” for literally all intents and purposes. It goes on to point out that interpreting “temporary custody” in W&I §306 to not include children removed by warrant leads to the absurd result that a Tribe’s exclusive jurisdiction not be respected as required under subsection (d) of W&I §306. Secondly it claims that the In re Adrian L. (2022) 86 Cal.App.5th 342 concurrence, which spawned the In re Robert F. (2023) 90 Cal.App.5th 492, published4/12/23 [(CA 4/2: E080073) Reviewed here. Review was granted by the Supreme Court 7/26, S279743], case and its progeny claiming the differential application of W&I §224.2 based on emergency versus warranted removals, is flawed as under the ICWA itself, both types of removals are considered “emergency” removals. This explanation dovetails into the argument that “temporary custody” in W&I §306 handles all methods of removal and thus brings state law into conformity with the ICWA.

Similarly to the Delila D. case, this panel had a member who decided the Robert F. case and so a dissent was duly filed and rebutted within the body of the prevailing opinion.

In re P.L. et al.

In re P.L. et al.
3/7/24, CA 4/1 D082723

Father appealed a disposition visitation order that permitted the children’s wishes to be considered, which resulted in their refusal to visit him. At the detention hearing when the order (necessarily temporary) was made father didn’t object, and neither did he object when those orders were made permanent at the disposition hearing. The appellate court did not address the question of the permissibility of such an order (that delegated authority related to visitation orders to minors), but merely ruled that father forfeited the issue by not objecting to the orders in the trial court. Affirmed.

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