Code Section Group

Welfare and Institutions Code - WIC

DIVISION 2. CHILDREN [100 - 1500]

  ( Division 2 enacted by Stats. 1937, Ch. 369. )

PART 1. DELINQUENTS AND WARDS OF THE JUVENILE COURT [100 - 1455]

  ( Part 1 enacted by Stats. 1937, Ch. 369. )

CHAPTER 2. Juvenile Court Law [200 - 987]

  ( Chapter 2 repealed and added by Stats. 1961, Ch. 1616. )

ARTICLE 6. Dependent Children—Jurisdiction [300 - 304.7]
  ( Article 6 added by Stats. 1976, Ch. 1068. )

300.
  

A child who comes within any of the following descriptions is within the jurisdiction of the juvenile court which may adjudge that person to be a dependent child of the court:

(a) The child has suffered, or there is a substantial risk that the child will suffer, serious physical harm inflicted nonaccidentally upon the child by the child’s parent or guardian. For purposes of this subdivision, a court may find there is a substantial risk of serious future injury based on the manner in which a less serious injury was inflicted, a history of repeated inflictions of injuries on the child or the child’s siblings, or a combination of these and other actions by the parent or guardian that indicate the child is at risk of serious physical harm. For purposes of this subdivision, “serious physical harm” does not include reasonable and age-appropriate spanking to the buttocks if there is no evidence of serious physical injury.

(b)  (1)  The child has suffered, or there is a substantial risk that the child will suffer, serious physical harm or illness, as a result of the failure or inability of his or her parent or guardian to adequately supervise or protect the child, or the willful or negligent failure of the child’s parent or guardian to adequately supervise or protect the child from the conduct of the custodian with whom the child has been left, or by the willful or negligent failure of the parent or guardian to provide the child with adequate food, clothing, shelter, or medical treatment, or by the inability of the parent or guardian to provide regular care for the child due to the parent’s or guardian’s mental illness, developmental disability, or substance abuse. A child shall not be found to be a person described by this subdivision solely due to the lack of an emergency shelter for the family. Whenever it is alleged that a child comes within the jurisdiction of the court on the basis of the parent’s or guardian’s willful failure to provide adequate medical treatment or specific decision to provide spiritual treatment through prayer, the court shall give deference to the parent’s or guardian’s medical treatment, nontreatment, or spiritual treatment through prayer alone in accordance with the tenets and practices of a recognized church or religious denomination, by an accredited practitioner thereof, and shall not assume jurisdiction unless necessary to protect the child from suffering serious physical harm or illness. In making its determination, the court shall consider (1) the nature of the treatment proposed by the parent or guardian, (2) the risks to the child posed by the course of treatment or nontreatment proposed by the parent or guardian, (3) the risk, if any, of the course of treatment being proposed by the petitioning agency, and (4) the likely success of the courses of treatment or nontreatment proposed by the parent or guardian and agency. The child shall continue to be a dependent child pursuant to this subdivision only so long as is necessary to protect the child from risk of suffering serious physical harm or illness.

(2) The Legislature finds and declares that a child who is sexually trafficked, as described in Section 236.1 of the Penal Code, or who receives food or shelter in exchange for, or who is paid to perform, sexual acts described in Section 236.1 or 11165.1 of the Penal Code, and whose parent or guardian failed to, or was unable to, protect the child, is within the description of this subdivision, and that this finding is declaratory of existing law. These children shall be known as commercially sexually exploited children.

(c) The child is suffering serious emotional damage, or is at substantial risk of suffering serious emotional damage, evidenced by severe anxiety, depression, withdrawal, or untoward aggressive behavior toward self or others, as a result of the conduct of the parent or guardian or who has no parent or guardian capable of providing appropriate care. A child shall not be found to be a person described by this subdivision if the willful failure of the parent or guardian to provide adequate mental health treatment is based on a sincerely held religious belief and if a less intrusive judicial intervention is available.

(d) The child has been sexually abused, or there is a substantial risk that the child will be sexually abused, as defined in Section 11165.1 of the Penal Code, by his or her parent or guardian or a member of his or her household, or the parent or guardian has failed to adequately protect the child from sexual abuse when the parent or guardian knew or reasonably should have known that the child was in danger of sexual abuse.

(e) The child is under the age of five years and has suffered severe physical abuse by a parent, or by any person known by the parent, if the parent knew or reasonably should have known that the person was physically abusing the child. For the purposes of this subdivision, “severe physical abuse” means any of the following: any single act of abuse which causes physical trauma of sufficient severity that, if left untreated, would cause permanent physical disfigurement, permanent physical disability, or death; any single act of sexual abuse which causes significant bleeding, deep bruising, or significant external or internal swelling; or more than one act of physical abuse, each of which causes bleeding, deep bruising, significant external or internal swelling, bone fracture, or unconsciousness; or the willful, prolonged failure to provide adequate food. A child shall not be removed from the physical custody of his or her parent or guardian on the basis of a finding of severe physical abuse unless the social worker has made an allegation of severe physical abuse pursuant to Section 332.

(f) The child’s parent or guardian caused the death of another child through abuse or neglect.

(g) The child has been left without any provision for support; physical custody of the child has been voluntarily surrendered pursuant to Section 1255.7 of the Health and Safety Code and the child has not been reclaimed within the 14-day period specified in subdivision (g) of that section; the child’s parent has been incarcerated or institutionalized and cannot arrange for the care of the child; or a relative or other adult custodian with whom the child resides or has been left is unwilling or unable to provide care or support for the child, the whereabouts of the parent are unknown, and reasonable efforts to locate the parent have been unsuccessful.

(h) The child has been freed for adoption by one or both parents for 12 months by either relinquishment or termination of parental rights or an adoption petition has not been granted.

(i) The child has been subjected to an act or acts of cruelty by the parent or guardian or a member of his or her household, or the parent or guardian has failed to adequately protect the child from an act or acts of cruelty when the parent or guardian knew or reasonably should have known that the child was in danger of being subjected to an act or acts of cruelty.

(j) The child’s sibling has been abused or neglected, as defined in subdivision (a), (b), (d), (e), or (i), and there is a substantial risk that the child will be abused or neglected, as defined in those subdivisions. The court shall consider the circumstances surrounding the abuse or neglect of the sibling, the age and gender of each child, the nature of the abuse or neglect of the sibling, the mental condition of the parent or guardian, and any other factors the court considers probative in determining whether there is a substantial risk to the child.

It is the intent of the Legislature that this section not disrupt the family unnecessarily or intrude inappropriately into family life, prohibit the use of reasonable methods of parental discipline, or prescribe a particular method of parenting. Further, this section is not intended to limit the offering of voluntary services to those families in need of assistance but who do not come within the descriptions of this section. To the extent that savings accrue to the state from child welfare services funding obtained as a result of the enactment of the act that enacted this section, those savings shall be used to promote services which support family maintenance and family reunification plans, such as client transportation, out-of-home respite care, parenting training, and the provision of temporary or emergency in-home caretakers and persons teaching and demonstrating homemaking skills. The Legislature further declares that a physical disability, such as blindness or deafness, is no bar to the raising of happy and well-adjusted children and that a court’s determination pursuant to this section shall center upon whether a parent’s disability prevents him or her from exercising care and control. The Legislature further declares that a child whose parent has been adjudged a dependent child of the court pursuant to this section shall not be considered to be at risk of abuse or neglect solely because of the age, dependent status, or foster care status of the parent.

As used in this section, “guardian” means the legal guardian of the child.

(Amended by Stats. 2015, Ch. 303, Sec. 566. (AB 731) Effective January 1, 2016.)

300.1.
  

Notwithstanding subdivision (e) of Section 361 and Section 16507, family reunification services shall not be provided to a child adjudged a dependent pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 300.

(Amended by Stats. 1998, Ch. 1054, Sec. 3. Effective January 1, 1999.)

300.2.
  

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the purpose of the provisions of this chapter relating to dependent children is to provide maximum safety and protection for children who are currently being physically, sexually, or emotionally abused, being neglected, or being exploited, and to ensure the safety, protection, and physical and emotional well-being of children who are at risk of that harm. This safety, protection, and physical and emotional well-being may include provision of a full array of social and health services to help the child and family and to prevent reabuse of children. The focus shall be on the preservation of the family as well as the safety, protection, and physical and emotional well-being of the child. The provision of a home environment free from the negative effects of substance abuse is a necessary condition for the safety, protection and physical and emotional well-being of the child. Successful participation in a treatment program for substance abuse may be considered in evaluating the home environment. In addition, the provisions of this chapter ensuring the confidentiality of proceedings and records are intended to protect the privacy rights of the child.

(Amended by Stats. 1999, Ch. 346, Sec. 2. Effective January 1, 2000.)

300.3.
  

(a) Notwithstanding Section 215 or 272, or any other provision of law, a child or nonminor whose jurisdiction is modified pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 607.2 or subdivision (i) of Section 727.2 and who is placed in foster care may be supervised by the probation department of the county in which the court with jurisdiction over the dependent is located, if the county protocol in that county requires it. In those counties, all case management, case plan review, and reporting functions as described in Sections 671 and 675 of Title 42 of the United States Code and contained in this article shall be performed by the probation officer for these dependents.

(b) This section shall become operative on January 1, 2012.

(Amended by Stats. 2011, Ch. 459, Sec. 6. (AB 212) Effective October 4, 2011. Section initially operative January 1, 2012, by its own provisions.)

300.5.
  

In any case in which a child is alleged to come within the provisions of Section 300 on the basis that he or she is in need of medical care, the court, in making that finding, shall give consideration to any treatment being provided to the child by spiritual means through prayer alone in accordance with the tenets and practices of a recognized church or religious denomination by an accredited practitioner thereof.

(Amended by Stats. 1998, Ch. 1054, Sec. 4. Effective January 1, 1999.)

301.
  

(a) In any case in which a social worker, after investigation of an application for petition or other investigation he or she is authorized to make, determines that a child is within the jurisdiction of the juvenile court or will probably soon be within that jurisdiction, the social worker may, in lieu of filing a petition or subsequent to dismissal of a petition already filed, and with consent of the child’s parent or guardian, undertake a program of supervision of the child. If a program of supervision is undertaken, the social worker shall attempt to ameliorate the situation that brings the child within, or creates the probability that the child will be within, the jurisdiction of Section 300 by providing or arranging to contract for all appropriate child welfare services pursuant to Sections 16506 and 16507.3, within the time periods specified in those sections. No further child welfare services shall be provided subsequent to these time limits. If the family has refused to cooperate with the services being provided, the social worker may file a petition with the juvenile court pursuant to Section 332. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent the social worker from filing a petition pursuant to Section 332 when otherwise authorized by law.

(b) The program of supervision of the child undertaken pursuant to this section may call for the child to obtain care and treatment for the misuse of, or addiction to, controlled substances from a county mental health service or other appropriate community agency.

(c) If the parent is a dependent, nonminor dependent, or ward of the juvenile court at the time that a social worker seeks to undertake a program of supervision pursuant to subdivision (a), including a voluntary family reunification program or a voluntary family maintenance program, and if counsel has been appointed for the parent pursuant to subdivision (c) of Section 317, the program of supervision shall not be undertaken until the parent has consulted with his or her counsel. In cases when a ward is not represented by counsel appointed in a dependency proceeding pursuant to subdivision (c) of Section 317, he or she shall be given the opportunity to confer with counsel appointed in the wardship proceeding pursuant to Section 634 or by counsel retained to represent the ward in the wardship proceeding.

(Amended by Stats. 2017, Ch. 666, Sec. 1. (AB 1371) Effective January 1, 2018.)

302.
  

(a) A juvenile court may assume jurisdiction over a child described in Section 300 regardless of whether the child was in the physical custody of both parents or was in the sole legal or physical custody of only one parent at the time that the events or conditions occurred that brought the child within the jurisdiction of the court.

(b) Unless their parental rights have been terminated, both parents shall be notified of all proceedings involving the child. In any case where the social worker is required to provide a parent or guardian with notice of a proceeding at which the social worker intends to present a report, the social worker shall also provide both parents, whether custodial or noncustodial, or any guardian, or the counsel for the parent or guardian a copy of the report prior to the hearing, by personal service, by first-class mail, or by electronic service pursuant to Section 212.5. The social worker shall not charge any fee for providing a copy of a report required by this subdivision. The social worker shall keep confidential the address of any parent who is known to be the victim of domestic violence.

(c) When a child is adjudged a dependent of the juvenile court, any issues regarding custodial rights between his or her parents shall be determined solely by the juvenile court, as specified in Sections 304, 361.2, and 362.4, so long as the child remains a dependent of the juvenile court.

(d) Any custody or visitation order issued by the juvenile court at the time the juvenile court terminates its jurisdiction pursuant to Section 362.4 regarding a child who has been previously adjudged to be a dependent child of the juvenile court shall be a final judgment and shall remain in effect after that jurisdiction is terminated. The order shall not be modified in a proceeding or action described in Section 3021 of the Family Code unless the court finds that there has been a significant change of circumstances since the juvenile court issued the order and modification of the order is in the best interests of the child.

(Amended by Stats. 2017, Ch. 319, Sec. 126. (AB 976) Effective January 1, 2018.)

303.
  

(a) The court may retain jurisdiction over any person who is found to be a ward or a dependent child of the juvenile court until the ward or dependent child attains 21 years of age.

(b) The court shall have within its jurisdiction any nonminor dependent, as defined in subdivision (v) of Section 11400. The court may terminate its dependency, delinquency, or transition jurisdiction over the nonminor dependent between the time the nonminor reaches the age of majority and 21 years of age. If the court terminates dependency, delinquency, or transition jurisdiction, the nonminor dependent shall remain under the general jurisdiction of the court in order to allow for a petition under subdivision (e) of Section 388.

(c) A nonminor who has not yet attained 21 years of age and who exited foster care at or after the age of majority, may petition the court pursuant to subdivision (e) of Section 388 to resume dependency jurisdiction over himself or herself or to assume transition jurisdiction over himself or herself pursuant to Section 450.

(d) (1) Nothing in this code, including, but not limited to, Sections 340, 366.27, and 369.5, shall be construed to provide legal custody of a person who has attained 18 years of age to the county welfare or probation department or to otherwise abrogate any other rights that a person who has attained 18 years of age may have as an adult under California law. A nonminor dependent shall retain all of his or her legal decisionmaking authority as an adult. The nonminor shall enter into a mutual agreement for placement, as described in subdivision (u) of Section 11400, unless the nonminor dependent is incapable of making an informed agreement, or a voluntary reentry agreement, as described in subdivision (z) of Section 11400, for placement and care in which the nonminor consents to placement and care in a setting supervised by, and under the responsibility of, the county child welfare services department, the county probation department, or Indian tribe, tribal organization, or consortium of tribes that entered into an agreement pursuant to Section 10553.1.

(2) A nonminor dependent who remains under delinquency jurisdiction in order to complete his or her rehabilitative goals and is under a foster care placement order is not required to complete the mutual agreement as described in subdivision (u) of Section 11400. His or her adult decisionmaking authority may be limited by and subject to the care, supervision, custody, conduct, and maintenance orders as described in Section 727.

(e) Unless otherwise specified, the rights of a dependent child and the responsibilities of the county welfare or probation department, or tribe, and other entities, toward the child and family, shall also apply to nonminor dependents.

(f) The court shall assume transition jurisdiction pursuant to Section 450 over a person notwithstanding a court order vacating the underlying adjudication pursuant to Section 236.14 of the Penal Code. On or before January 1, 2019, the Judicial Council shall amend and adopt rules of court and develop appropriate forms to implement this subdivision.

(Amended by Stats. 2017, Ch. 707, Sec. 1. (AB 604) Effective January 1, 2018.)

304.
  

After a petition has been filed pursuant to Section 311, and until the time that the petition is dismissed or dependency is terminated, no other division of any superior court may hear proceedings pursuant to Part 2 (commencing with Section 3020) of Division 8 of the Family Code regarding the custody of the child or proceedings under Part 2 (commencing with Section 1500) of Division 4 of the Probate Code, except as otherwise authorized in this code, regarding the establishment of a guardianship for the child. While the child is under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court all issues regarding his or her custody shall be heard by the juvenile court. In deciding issues between the parents or between a parent and a guardian regarding custody of a child who has been adjudicated a dependent of the juvenile court, the juvenile court may review any records that would be available to the domestic relations division of a superior court hearing that matter. The juvenile court, on its own motion, may issue an order as provided for in Section 213.5, or as described in Section 6218 of the Family Code. The Judicial Council shall adopt forms for these restraining orders. These form orders shall not be confidential and shall be enforceable in the same manner as any other order issued pursuant to Division 10 (commencing with Section 6200) of the Family Code.

This section shall not be construed to divest the domestic relations division of a superior court from hearing any issues regarding the custody of a child when that child is no longer a dependent of the juvenile court.

(Amended by Stats. 1998, Ch. 1054, Sec. 7. Effective January 1, 1999.)

304.7.
  

(a) The Judicial Council shall develop and implement standards for the education and training of all judges who conduct hearings pursuant to Section 300. The training shall include, but not be limited to, all of the following:

(1) A component relating to Section 300 proceedings for newly appointed or elected judges and an annual training session in Section 300 proceedings.

(2) Cultural competency and sensitivity relating to, and best practices for, providing adequate care to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth.

(3) The information described in subdivision (d) of Section 16501.4.

(4) The information described in subdivision (i) of Section 16521.5.

(b) A commissioner or referee who is assigned to conduct hearings held pursuant to Section 300 shall meet the minimum standards for education and training established pursuant to subdivision (a), by July 31, 1998.

(c) The Judicial Council shall submit an annual report to the Legislature on compliance by judges, commissioners, and referees with the education and training standards described in subdivisions (a) and (b).

(Amended by Stats. 2017, Ch. 24, Sec. 10. (SB 89) Effective June 27, 2017.)

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