Alameda Cnty. Soc. Servs. Agencyv.L.B. (In re J. N.)

A148758 (Cal. Ct. App. Jul. 27, 2017)



In re J. N. et al., a Person Coming Under the Juvenile Court Law. ALAMEDA COUNTY SOCIAL SERVICES AGENCY, Petitioner and Respondent, v. L.B. et al., Objectors and Appellants.


California Rules of Court, rule 8.1115(a), prohibits courts and parties from citing or relying on opinions not certified for publication or ordered published, except as specified by rule 8.1115(b). This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115. (Alameda County Super. Ct. No. SJ1602666601, OJ0801084302, OJ0801084402, SJ1602666601)

D.N. (Father) and L.B. (Mother) appeal from the juvenile court's jurisdictional and dispositional orders in dependency proceedings involving their four sons. There was sufficient admissible evidence supporting the court's orders, so we affirm.


The four boys who are the subject of this dependency are J.N. (age 9), B.N. (age 8), G.N. (age 7), and Ba.N. (age 4). Father and Mother have been married since 2009, and in 2012, moved the family to the Bay Area, where their housing has been regularly in flux. At first, they moved into Father's childhood home in Berkeley with his mother (the boys' grandmother who we shall refer to as Grandmother), brother, aunt, and grandmother. In late 2013, Father and Mother had to leave the home, so they moved with Ba.N., then a year old, to live with Father's friend in Richmond. The three older boys stayed with Grandmother. Sometime in 2014, Father, Mother, and Ba.N. moved into their paternal grandfather's house in Oakland. The older boys then split their residence between Oakland and Grandmother's in Berkeley. Around February 2016, the parents rented a small Berkeley apartment where the family lived for about a month until they were evicted because the family was too big. After the eviction, all four boys, including Ba.N., returned to live with Grandmother. Meanwhile, Father and Mother became homeless and slept in hotels or, on days they could not pay for shelter, in their car.

The boys' ages when the dependency petition was filed on May 12, 2016.

This arrangement with the boys at Grandmother's house strained what Father described as an already "contentious" mother-son relationship. Conflict simmered over the amount of responsibility Father and Mother took in caring for the boys and the emotional and financial support they provided. At some point, Grandmother stopped communicating with Father and Mother and no longer answered their calls even though their children were still living with her. In late April 2016, the Alameda County Social Services Agency (the Agency) initiated investigations after receiving two referrals alleging the parents did not meet the boys' basic needs.

In early May 2016, the family conflict reached a tipping point. Between May 4, 2016 and May 10, 2016, Berkeley police were called to Grandmother's house five times. The calls for service involved claims of child abandonment, neglect, and abuse. To stabilize the situation, the boys left Grandmother's house and went with their parents. It appears the night they left, they slept in their parents' car.

The events of May 10, 2016, when police removed the boys from their parents' physical custody, are set forth in a police report. Father attempted to pick up J.N. from Grandmother's house where J.N. had returned the day before to retrieve school clothes for his brothers. According to statements made to police, J.N. did not feel safe around Father and was afraid of him, so Grandmother and his uncle let him stay there. He was found by an officer "laying beneath a bench, quiet and shying away" and told the officer "he was fearful of his father because the police were called." He explained that Father yells at him and Mother previously struck him in the face with a hanger and struck B.N. in the face causing his nose to bleed. B.N. also told the officer Mother slapped him in the face and caused his nose to bleed. Both Father and Mother denied hitting or threatening their children, and expressed their love for their children and their desire to do what is best for them. However, based on the statements of alleged abuse and neglect, the police had "reason to believe that the [boys] were at risk of serious physical harm if left with their parents or at [Grandmother's] house with the possibility of the parents returning and creat[ing] a dangerous situation for all involved." So, the police removed the boys from their parents.

On May 12, 2016, the two older boys, J.N. and B.N., sat for individual interviews at CALICO (Child Abuse Listening, Interviewing & Coordination Center). Each of the boys answered questions about a range of topics related to their family. At the outset of the interviews, each boy was instructed to promise to tell the truth. They were asked to describe their relationships with and feelings about their parents. They were asked what happens when they get in trouble, and whether anyone, including their parents, ever hurt them. They answered questions about any guns their Father had or shot, and about their parents' use of marijuana and other substances. The boys also addressed questions about how their parents argued.

The same day, the Agency filed juvenile dependency petitions under Welfare and Institution Code section 300 for the four boys. The petitions alleged the boys had suffered or were at substantial risk of suffering serious physical harm as a result of their parents' lack of housing, substance abuse issues, and Father's firearm possession and misuse. The petitions also claimed harm based on domestic violence between Father and Mother, as well as the incidents the older boys had discussed with police about Mother allegedly striking J.N. with a hanger in 2009 and punching B.N. in the face in September 2015.

All statutory citations are to the Welfare and Institutions Code.

On June 15, 2016, the Agency filed an amended petition, which is the operative petition. The amended petition alleges the same basic facts, all under section 300, subdivision (b).

The next day, on May 13, 2016, the Agency filed its detention report. The report contained the social worker's summaries of the two oldest boys' CALICO interviews and noted J.N. and B.N. were "exhibiting self-harm behavior" for which J.N. was "5150'd." The report included summaries of the Agency's interview with Father, who denied physical abuse allegations, and the Agency's joint interview with the two younger boys, who denied or did not respond to questions regarding physical abuse or substance abuse by their parents. The May 10 police report was also attached to the report. In addition, Grandmother told the Agency she was " 'financially drained' " and " 'depleted' " and that she would like to care for the boys but was unsure she could. She also said she had hesitated to come forward out of fear the boys would be separated or removed from her care. At the May 13 detention hearing, no one objected to the detention report coming into evidence, and it was so admitted. While disputing the boys would be in danger in their care, both parents submitted to detention based on their homelessness. The boys were placed in foster care.

Section 5150 provides for temporary placement of a person who is a danger to himself or others in a mental health facility for treatment and evaluation.

On May 18, 2016, the two younger boys sat for CALICO interviews observed by the Agency social worker. They, too, answered questions asked by CALICO staff on a similar range of topics covered by their older brothers.

On May 26, 2016, in anticipation of the contested jurisdiction/disposition hearing, the Agency prepared a jurisdiction/disposition report which recommended the boys be declared dependents of the court, placed outside their parents' home, and that the parents be offered reunification services. The report included the social worker's summaries of the younger boys' CALICO interviews. The report also identified services provided to the parents, which included referrals for drug testing and drug court.

On June 10, 2016, the Agency filed an addendum report. The addendum reported on another interview with Grandmother about the allegation Mother punched B.N. and caused his nose to bleed. Grandmother recalled B.N. telling her Mother did so because he was whining to get her attention. However, she did not observe the incident firsthand or see any blood. The Addendum also provided an update on additional services offered to the parents and noted that the parents had yet to initiate any such services. Additionally, it detailed an October 2013 domestic violence incident and attached a copy of the 2013 police report from that episode which contains several witness statements. Nearly three years ago, on the sidewalk in front of Grandmother's house, Father had slapped Mother in the face while holding their youngest son, then a year old, in his arms. He also pushed her to the ground. The other three boys watched the entire event unfold. Police secured an emergency protective order against Father. He was arrested for domestic violence and child endangerment and other charges related to a concealed firearm officers found in his car in a search incident to arrest.

The protective order was subsequently modified to allow Father to have contact with Mother and the boys but continues to restrict Father from harassing, annoying, or threatening them. During the course of these dependency proceedings, the protective order remained in place.

The contested jurisdiction/disposition hearing took place on June 13 and 15, 2016. The court admitted the Addendum and the 2013 police report over Father's objections. The court played all four recordings of the boys' CALICO interviews, but the parties stipulated that the recordings would not be reported, with Father "so stipulat[ing] because the best evidence is the tape." Father declined to sit through the youngest boy's interview because he "[didn't] want to watch [his] kid being badgered." After the court admitted the recordings without objection, Father's counsel stated "it seems that there's some logical objections to the nature of the questioning and in some cases as being leading . . . . [I]n another courtroom that testimony by this child would probably be objectionable as too young to understand what he's answering, basically. There would probably be some legitimate objections to his testimony. I'm just putting that on the record. I trust that the Court can evaluate the testimony of a four-year-old who says almost anything to almost any question." Thereafter, Father and Mother testified.

Father acknowledged he and Mother were homeless and slept either in their car or in hotels, but he began a painting/construction job and was in the process of searching for permanent housing. Otherwise, for the most part, he denied all other allegations in the petition. While he smoked marijuana under a medial prescription, he did not do so in front of the children nor did he blow smoke in the boys' faces. He also kept his marijuana in a lockbox in his car trunk. Father addressed the 2013 domestic violence incident and said he shoved Mother to the ground in self-defense. But he acknowledged he was ordered to participate in domestic violence classes. Father added that there has been no incident between him and Mother that has required police intervention since the protective order was issued. He acknowledged that police discovered a gun in his car during the 2013 incident but stated he has not owned or carried a firearm since 2006. He later corrected himself and described a 2009 incident when he was arrested and had a revolver in his coat and another 2013 incident when he was arrested for firearm possession during a traffic stop. He never cleaned a weapon or accidentally discharged a weapon in front of his boys. Father generally disciplined the boys by confiscating their prized possessions or having them stand in a corner, but he rarely spanked them and never slapped them. It was not his practice to physically punish the boys. Father believed that the boys' statements were coached by Grandmother.

Mother, too, acknowledged she and Father were homeless and slept either in their car or hotels, though she has worked for the county continuously for the last four years. Otherwise, she denied the allegations in the petition. While she used medical marijuana, she did not smoke around the boys or leave marijuana accessible to them and kept it in a locked container or in a sealed bottle in her purse. She said Father never shoved or pushed her to the ground but acknowledged the protective order issued against Father. When Mother disciplined the boys, it was her practice to confiscate things. She said she "tapped" the youngest one on his hands or bottom for touching things he should not touch but denied that she punched B.N. in the face or hit J.N. in the eye with a hanger. She explained J.N. hurt his eyes while playing with B.N. in their room. She felt she treated her children well even though they did not live with her, but she was willing to participate in therapy and parenting education programs. Mother also thought the boys were being coached by Grandmother.

The court declared the boys dependents of the juvenile court. The court found clear and convincing evidence for the boys' removal from their parents' physical custody, and found that returning the boys to their parents would create a substantial danger to the boys' physical health and safety and emotional well-being. It saw no reasonable alternative means to protect the boys. The court also found that the parents perjured themselves. In addition, the court made a detriment finding and took the "extraordinary step[]" of prohibiting the parents from having any contact with the boys unless under therapeutic supervision.

Father and Mother separately appealed the declaration of dependency, jurisdictional findings and order, and visitation order.


A. Admissibility of CALICO Interview Recordings

Father argues extensively against the admission of the recordings of the boys' CALICO interviews. He contends the recordings are hearsay to which no exceptions apply. Despite Father's lengthy analysis, we need not address or reach any conclusion as to the admissibility of the boys' interviews. Even if all four CALICO recordings were inadmissible, the juvenile court's jurisdictional and dispositional orders were supported by substantial evidence.

B. Sufficiency of the Evidence for Jurisdiction

"In a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence to support a jurisdictional finding, the issue is whether there is evidence, contradicted or uncontradicted, to support the finding. In making that determination, the reviewing court reviews the record in the light most favorable to the challenged order, resolving conflicts in the evidence in favor of that order, and giving the evidence reasonable inferences. Weighing evidence, assessing credibility, and resolving conflicts in evidence and in the inferences to be drawn from evidence are the domain of the trial court, not the reviewing court. Evidence from a single witness, even a party, can be sufficient to support the trial court's findings." (In re Alexis E. (2009) 171 Cal.App.4th 438, 450-451 (Alexis).) On appeal, the parents, as the parties challenging the juvenile court's findings and orders, bear the burden of showing there is insufficient evidence to support those findings and orders. (In re N.M. (2011) 197 Cal.App.4th 159, 168.)

The Agency petitioned the juvenile court to exercise jurisdiction over the boys under section 300, subdivision (b). That provision authorizes a minor to be adjudged a dependent of the juvenile court where "[t]he 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 . . . to adequately supervise or protect the child . . . or by the willful or negligent failure of the parent . . . to provide the child with adequate food, clothing, shelter, or medical treatment, or by the inability of the parent . . . to provide regular care for the child due to the parent's or guardian's mental illness, developmental disability, or substance abuse." (§ 300, subd. (b)(1).) According to the amended petition, the parents' homelessness, substance use, domestic violence, physical abuse of two of the boys, and Father's firearm possession and misuse brought the boys within the meaning of section 300, subdivision (b). The juvenile court agreed and found the allegations of the petition to be true.

Both parents independently challenge the sufficiency of the evidence supporting the court's findings and jurisdiction. Father contends with or without J.N. and B.N.'s hearsay statements, there is no substantial evidence to support mostly all the counts alleged for jurisdiction. Mother contends there was no substantial evidence supporting the jurisdictional findings because they were based solely on the boys' unreliable and uncorroborated out-of-court statements. We disagree.

Father and Mother's inability to provide the boys adequate housing is more than substantially supported in the record based on the parents' own uncontroverted testimony. The May 10 police report indicates Father told the police he and Mother were "in transition and were either sleeping inside of their car or renting motel rooms from time to time [and] are currently waiting for permanent placement." Father told police he and Mother did not live with the boys "since they could not currently care for them." Mother told police they "did not have stable housing besides their [car]." At the contested hearing, Father testified he and Mother live in the car on the days they are unable to pay for a hotel. Mother confirmed their housing predicament and acknowledged being homeless since leaving their Berkeley apartment. She even voiced her expectation that the boys would not return to her following the hearing because of the housing issues.

Further, housing the boys with Grandmother, as was done in the months leading up to removal, appeared to be no longer viable. Grandmother reported to the Agency she was "financially drained" and "depleted" and was at a loss for what to do with the boys as much as she wanted to care for them. Referrals were made to the Agency and in the subsequent investigations, Grandmother claimed the parents did not care for the boys and that she was unable to continue to care for them. Moreover, the housing situation ensnared the boys into a conflict between their parents and Grandmother that required police intervention five times in one week. The conflict culminated in the boys leaving Grandmother's house and apparently sleeping in their parents' car. Troublingly, the Agency investigation and police involvement instilled in J.N. a fear of repercussions from his Father. This, in turn, prompted another crisis when Grandmother and his uncle decided to let J.N. stay at the Berkeley house shortly after all the boys moved out.

This situation arising from Father and Mother's lack of stable or suitable housing for the boys was enough for the court to assert dependency jurisdiction over them under section 300, subdivision (b). "When a dependency petition alleges multiple grounds for its assertion that a minor comes within the dependency court's jurisdiction, a reviewing court can affirm the juvenile court's finding of jurisdiction over the minor if any one of the statutory bases for jurisdiction that are enumerated in the petition is supported by substantial evidence. In such a case, the reviewing court need not consider whether any or all of the other alleged statutory grounds for jurisdiction are supported by the evidence." (Alexis E., supra, 171 Cal.App.4th at p. 451.) Thus, where one statutory ground is supported by substantial evidence, the reviewing court need not consider any other alleged ground before affirming the court's jurisdictional order. (In re Ashley B. (2011) 202 Cal.App.4th 968, 979.)

Father contends that his and Mother's lack of housing and Grandmother's inability to care for the boys are not grounds for jurisdiction "but for referring the family to the appropriate social services program and telling [Grandmother] . . . that she could seek a probate guardianship and qualify for social services assistance." We understand that homelessness in itself is not a basis for dependency jurisdiction. (See § 300, subd. (b) [no child shall be found to be a person described by this subdivision solely due to the lack of emergency shelter for the family].) Here, however, more than homelessness is involved. The parents' homelessness has strained relationships between Father and Grandmother and has created a volatile situation which has required police intervention and triggered Agency investigations. The boys have been placed in the middle. This situation has made at least one of the boys fearful of Father. The court could have reasonably inferred this volatile situation arose from the parents' inability to secure housing and the resulting family conflict played a part in the self-injurious behavior exhibited by J.N. and B.N., for which J.N. was briefly hospitalized. Also, given the other jurisdictional findings, the parents' inability to provide safe shelter for the boys is not the only reason jurisdiction was proper.

The Agency's social studies and the accompanying police reports provide ample support for the court's findings that the boys were at risk of physical harm. During the May 10 event, J.N. told police that "he was fearful of his father because the police were called." When asked why, J.N. explained that Father yelled at him a lot and threatened to harm him and that he had been struck in the face with a wire hanger, which injured his eye. J.N. also told officers Mother had punched B.N. in the face causing his nose to bleed after he would not listen to her. B.N. told a similar story to police. Grandmother corroborated the boys' statements regarding the punch to B.N. when asked about it by the social worker. While Grandmother did not see the incident or recall seeing blood, she remembered that B.N. told her Mother punched him in the nose and that his nose bled. She further explained that Mother was on her phone while B.N. was attempting to get her attention and she struck him in the face and told him to stop whining.

The finding that the boys were at risk of emotional and physical harm due to their parents' domestic violence was also substantially supported by the Agency's social studies and attached reports. The agency's Addendum revealed the 2013 domestic violence incident when Father was seen slapping Mother in the face while he was holding their youngest son, then a year-old, and shoving her to the ground. Moreover, this was done in view of the other three boys. Father was arrested for domestic violence and child endangerment and the protective order issued against Father to protect the family. At the contested hearing, both parents acknowledged this incident. Even though Mother said Father never pushed or shoved her, she acknowledged the protective order against Father. Father admitted he shoved Mother to the ground while holding the youngest boy, but said he did so in self-defense. He also confirmed he was ordered to participate in domestic violence classes in 2013.

The parents' inability to secure adequate shelter for the boys, Mother's physical abuse of the two older boys, and the parents' domestic violence, provides substantial evidence to support the court's jurisdictional order, even without considering evidence related to the parents' substance use and Father's firearm possession.

Both parents dispute different aspects of the Agency's detention report, jurisdiction/disposition report, and addendum. While conceding the social studies are admissible under section 355, Father contends the Agency's summaries of the boys' CALICO interviews in those reports constitute inadmissible secondary evidence that has no evidentiary value. Father is correct that the social studies are admissible. At a jurisdictional hearing, "[a]ny legally admissible evidence that is relevant to the circumstances or acts that are alleged to bring the minor within the jurisdiction of the juvenile court is admissible and may be received in evidence." (§ 355, subd. (a).) But we need not address Father's concerns about hearsay in the reports since neither the CALICO interviews nor the Agency's summaries of those interviews are the bases of our analysis or conclusions. For this reason, we also need not address Mother's arguments that there was no evidence showing the boys' CALICO interviews were corroborated and had indicia of reliability.

Mother extends a similar inadmissibility argument with respect to the older boys' statements in the police report which we will address since the statements about Mother physically striking them is part of our analysis. Mother contends the court failed to evaluate the circumstances surrounding the boys' statements to establish they were truthful. She objects that the police never asked the boys whether they understood the difference between the truth and a lie, and stated nothing about their interview techniques.

Social worker reports constitute competent evidence on which the court can base a jurisdictional finding. (§ 355, subd. (b)(1).) This rule applies to the hearsay statements in social worker reports, as well as in any attached reports. (In re Malinda S. (1990) 51 Cal.3d 381, 385, superseded by statute as explained in In re M.B. (2011) 201 Cal.App.4th 1057, 1070; In re Corey A. (1991) 227 Cal.App.3d 339, 346.) However, if a parent "raises a timely objection to the admission of specific hearsay evidence contained in a social study, the specific hearsay evidence shall not be sufficient by itself to support a jurisdictional finding or any ultimate fact upon which a jurisdictional finding is based, unless the petitioner establishes" a hearsay exception set forth under section 355, subdivision (c). (§ 355, subd. (c)(1).) Section 355, subdivision (c)(1) sets forth a number of hearsay exceptions that enable the court to rely solely on hearsay statements to find jurisdiction. The pertinent exception in this case states that the jurisdictional finding may entirely be supported by the hearsay if: "The hearsay declarant is a minor under 12 years of age who is the subject of the jurisdictional hearing. However, the hearsay statement of a minor under 12 years of age shall not be admissible if the objecting party establishes that the statement is unreliable because it was the product of fraud, deceit, or undue influence." (§ 355, subd. (c)(1)(B).)

At no point during the juvenile court proceedings did Mother or Father object to the social study containing the older boys' hearsay statements taken from the police reports. The court specifically asked whether there was any objection to the May 13 Detention Report which included the police report coming into evidence. Father's counsel stated, "No objection," and Mother's counsel offered no response. The court then admitted the report into evidence. With respect to the May 26 Jurisdiction/Detention Report and June 13 Addendum Report, Father lodged an objection, but this was directed solely at the 2013 police report regarding the domestic violence incident (which the court admitted over Father's objection and which contained no statements from the boys).

Even if there had been a timely objection, the hearsay exception for minors under 12 years old set forth in section 355, subdivision (c)(1)(B) applies. When the boys gave their statements to the police on May 10, 2016, J.N. was nine and B.N. was eight. Neither parent has argued or presented authority that the boys' statements to the police were the product of undue influence, fraud, or deceit. Even though both parents claim the boys were coached for their CALICO interviews that took place days after the police interviews, they offered no competent evidence to support their claims and the court made no such finding. The boys' hearsay statements in the police reports were properly considered.

The parents also challenge the sufficiency of the domestic violence findings. Father contends the alleged domestic violence is insufficient to support jurisdiction because even if the boys saw their parents fighting, the record contains no evidence that the violence was so traumatic or so ongoing as to constitute a pattern creating substantial risk to the boys of physical harm. Father and Mother also argue there was no substantial evidence that the boys were presently at risk of serious physical harm from domestic violence. Physical violence between a child's parents may support the exercise of jurisdiction under [section 300,] subdivision (b) if there is evidence that the violence is ongoing or likely to continue and that it directly harmed the child physically or placed the child at risk of physical harm. (In re R.C. (2012) 210 Cal.App.4th 930, 944.) Even though there is a single episode of domestic violence from nearly three years ago, it was traumatic. It took place in full view of the three older boys; and critically, the youngest was in the crossfire in Father's arms while he slapped Mother. The protective order against Father arising from that incident was still in effect at the time of the contested hearing. The court could have reasonably inferred there was an ongoing risk of harm as a basis for its jurisdiction.

C. Sufficiency of the Evidence for Dispositional Order

To remove children from their parents' custody, the juvenile court must find clear and convincing evidence a substantial danger to the physical health, safety, protection, or physical or emotional well-being of the children exists or would occur if they were returned home, and there is no reasonable means to protect them without removal. (§ 361, subd. (c)(1).) The jurisdictional findings are prima facie evidence that the child cannot safely remain in the home. (§ 361, subd. (c)(1).) "A removal order is proper if it is based on proof of: (1) parental inability to provide proper care for the minor; and (2) potential detriment to the minor if he or she remains with the parent." (In re T.W. (2013) 214 Cal.App.4th 1154, 1163.) Moreover, "[t]he parent need not be dangerous and the child need not have been actually harmed for removal to be appropriate. The focus of the statute is on averting harm to the child." (In re Cole C. (2009) 174 Cal.App.4th 900, 917.) We review the juvenile court's ruling for sufficiency of the evidence to support its conclusion. (Sheila S. v. Superior Court (2000) 84 Cal.App.4th 872, 880-881.)

Father contends even if there was substantial evidence to support jurisdiction, there was no clear and convincing evidence that dependency supervision and services would be insufficient to protect the boys from harm. Again, we disagree. The parents were not able to provide secure shelter for the boys and Grandmother appeared no longer able or willing to care for them under the circumstances. Further, one of the boys feared Father based on his past anger and threats. It was reasonable for the court to infer his fear caused him to self-injure himself and was based in part from having been previously struck by Mother. The Agency observed the parents had yet to initiate any services offered to them and Father in particular exhibited a resistance to some of the substance abuse services offered. This was sufficient evidence of a substantial danger to the boys warranting removal from Father and Mother's custody.

Mother challenges the disposition order on the same grounds as the jurisdiction order, namely, the court's reliance on the boys' Calico statements without determining whether there were sufficient indicia of reliability. Since we responded to this argument above, we do not address it again here. --------

D. Visitation Order

In dependency cases, a juvenile court must order visitation "as frequent[ly] as possible, consistent with the well-being of the child," but not when doing so will "jeopardize the safety of the child." (§ 362.1, subd. (a)(1)(A) & (B).) The children's well-being encompasses both their emotional and physical health. (In re T.M. (2016) 4 Cal.App.5th 1214, 1219). The juvenile court decides what visitation rights to grant or deny a parent. (In re Korbin Z. (2016) 3 Cal.App.5th 511, 516-517; In re Jennifer G. (1990) 221 Cal.App.3d 752, 756-757). We review orders setting the terms of visitation for an abuse of discretion. (In re Brittany C. (2011) 191 Cal.App.4th 1343, 1356).

Both parents object to the order restricting them to supervised therapeutic visits with the boys. Father argues the evidence in the record does not align with the court's visitation order, which runs contrary to the well-established principle that courts should do everything to support visitation upon separating children from their parents. Mother contends the boys' safety would not be jeopardized if she were granted supervised visits instead of therapeutic visits, and that a more realistic visitation order could have required the parents to participate in therapeutic visits with the children in addition to supervised visits. Mother also argues that by denying her supervised visits until a therapist was available, the court was setting up mother to fail to reunify.

We cannot conclude the court abused its discretion with its visitation order. Here, it did not deny the parents visitation outright but only limited their visitation to a therapeutic setting based on the well-being of the children. There was substantial evidence of risk of harm to the boys to justify such a limitation. One of the boys was fearful of Father to the point where Grandmother and his uncle felt compelled to let him stay at the house. Further, there was no evidence that either parent had engaged in services. Also, to assuage concerns about any delay in starting visitation resulting from the order, the court indicated it would consider such delay in determining whether visitation was adequate.


The orders are affirmed.


Siggins, J. We concur: /s/_________
McGuiness, P.J. /s/_________
Pollak, J.