Los Angeles Dep't of Children & Family Servs.Annotate this Case
In this case Father's two young children were adjudged juvenile court dependents, in part because of findings under Cal. Code Welf. & Inst. 300(f), which allows an initial adjudication of dependency if a child's parent caused the death of another child through abuse or neglect. These findings were based on evidence that, in violation of law, Father transported his third child, an eighteen-month-old daughter, in an automobile without securing her in a child safety seat, and she was fatally injured when another vehicle collided with their car. The court of appeal affirmed the juvenile court's judgment. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) section 300(f) does not limit is application to criminal negligence but allows the juvenile court to adjudge a child a dependent if the court finds that the want of ordinary care by the child's parent or guardian caused another child's death; (2) the juvenile court may adjudicate dependence under section 300(f) without any additional evidence or finding that the circumstances surrounding the parent's or guardian's fatal negligence indicate a present risk of harm to surviving children in the parent's or guardian's custody; and (3) the normal concepts of legal causation apply under section 300(f).