In re Q.

31 Cal. App. 3d 709, 107 Cal. Rptr. 646 (1973)

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In re Q.

California Court of Appeal
31 Cal. App. 3d 709, 107 Cal. Rptr. 646 (1973)

Facts

Larry, Jeannie, Roy, and Carlos (the children) were siblings whose ages ranged from nine months to five years. Their mother, Q. (defendant) was expecting another child, Michelle. The California Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) (plaintiff) received a report that Larry’s face and body were bruised and cut. Betty Wise, the DPSS social worker assigned to the matter, met with Q. and the children. Wise noticed that some of the children had bruises, cuts, and scars on their bodies. Over the course of Wise’s involvement in the matter, Wise visited the children and Q. many times. Wise learned that Q. had a severe intellectual disability and was unable to read, write, or tell time. Because of Wise’s concern for the children’s welfare, Wise arranged for a doctor to examine the children. The doctor reported that Jeannie and Larry had significant physical, mental, and social delays, probably caused by malnutrition. Carlos’s weight was low, but he was otherwise healthy. Roy’s health was excellent. Upon Wise’s receipt of the report, a dependency petition was filed. At the dependency hearing, Q. testified that she thought her children were well fed and no one had told her they were malnourished. Q.’s neighbor testified that she had repeatedly heard Q. mistreat and threaten to mistreat the children. Wise testified that Q. loved the children and did her best for them and that Wise did not attempt to counsel Q. on providing nutrition for the children. The court questioned witnesses about possible solutions to the problem of the children’s malnutrition before finding that the children were dependent. The court entered a temporary order for the state to take custody of the children and for the children to live in a foster home. DPSS offered to counsel Q. in nutrition and childcare, but Q. refused. The time came for the disposition hearing, during which the court would make permanent orders regarding the children’s placement. Q.’s sister testified at the hearing that she could live with Q. and the children as a homemaker, which Q. recommended to the court. The court ordered the children to remain in DPSS’s care and custody. Q. appealed, arguing that California statute required DPSS to provide family protective services before filing a dependency proceeding.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Cole, J.)

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