Cal.Welf. & Inst.Code § 361


California Codes

Welfare and Institutions Code

Division 2. Children

Part 1. Delinquents and Wards of the Juvenile Court

Chapter 2. Juvenile Court Law

Article 10. Dependent Children--Judgments and Orders


§ 361. Limitations on parental or guardian control; right to make educational decisions; appointment of responsible adult; relinquishment of child; grounds for removal of child; placement; findings


(a) In all cases in which a minor is adjudged a dependent child of the court on the ground that the minor is a person described by Section 300, the court may limit the control to be exercised over the dependent child by any parent or guardian and shall by its order clearly and specifically set forth all those limitations. Any limitation on the right of the parent or guardian to make educational decisions for the child shall be specifically addressed in the court order. The limitations may not exceed those necessary to protect the child. If the court specifically limits the right of the parent or guardian to make educational decisions for the child, the court shall at the same time appoint a responsible adult to make educational decisions for the child until one of the following occurs:


(1) The minor reaches 18 years of age, unless the child chooses not to make educational decisions for himself or herself, or is deemed by the court to be incompetent.


(2) Another responsible adult is appointed to make educational decisions for the minor pursuant to this section.


(3) The right of the parent or guardian to make educational decisions for the minor is fully restored.


(4) A successor guardian or conservator is appointed.


(5) The child is placed into a planned permanent living arrangement pursuant to paragraph (3) of subdivision (g) of Section 366.21, Section 366.22, or Section 366.26, at which time the foster parent, relative caretaker, or nonrelative extended family member as defined in Section 362.7, has the right to represent the child in educational matters pursuant to Section 56055 of the Education Code.


An individual who would have a conflict of interest in representing the child may not be appointed to make educational decisions. For purposes of this section, "an individual who would have a conflict of interest," means a person having any interests that might restrict or bias his or her ability to make educational decisions, including, but not limited to, those conflicts of interest prohibited by Section 1126 of the Government Code, and the receipt of compensation or attorneys' fees for the provision of services pursuant to this section. A foster parent may not be deemed to have a conflict of interest solely because he or she receives compensation for the provision of services pursuant to this section.


If the court is unable to appoint a responsible adult to make educational decisions for the child and paragraphs (1) to (5), inclusive, do not apply, and the child has either been referred to the local educational agency for special education and related services, or has a valid individualized education program, the court shall refer the child to the local educational agency for appointment of a surrogate parent pursuant to Section 7579.5 of the Government Code.


If the court cannot identify a responsible adult to make educational decisions for the child, the appointment of a surrogate parent as defined in subdivision (a) of Section 56050 of the Education Code is not warranted, and there is no foster parent to exercise the authority granted by Section 56055 of the Education Code, the court may, with the input of any interested person, make educational decisions for the child.


All educational and school placement decisions shall seek to ensure that the child is in the least restrictive educational programs and has access to the academic resources, services, and extracurricular and enrichment activities that are available to all pupils. In all instances, educational and school placement decisions shall be based on the best interests of the child.


(b) Subdivision (a) does not limit the ability of a parent to voluntarily relinquish his or her child to the State Department of Social Services or to a licensed county adoption agency at any time while the child is a dependent child of the juvenile court, if the department or agency is willing to accept the relinquishment.


(c) A dependent child may not be taken from the physical custody of his or her parents or guardian or guardians with whom the child resides at the time the petition was initiated, unless the juvenile court finds clear and convincing evidence of any of the following circumstances listed in paragraphs (1) to (5), inclusive, and, in an Indian child custody proceeding, paragraph (6):


(1) There is or would be a substantial danger to the physical health, safety, protection, or physical or emotional well-being of the minor if the minor were returned home, and there are no reasonable means by which the minor's physical health can be protected without removing the minor from the minor's parent's or guardian's physical custody. The fact that a minor has been adjudicated a dependent child of the court pursuant to subdivision (e) of Section 300 shall constitute prima facie evidence that the minor cannot be safely left in the physical custody of the parent or guardian with whom the minor resided at the time of injury. The court shall consider, as a reasonable means to protect the minor, the option of removing an offending parent or guardian from the home. The court shall also consider, as a reasonable means to protect the minor, allowing a nonoffending parent or guardian to retain physical custody as long as that parent or guardian presents a plan acceptable to the court demonstrating that he or she will be able to protect the child from future harm.


(2) The parent or guardian of the minor is unwilling to have physical custody of the minor, and the parent or guardian has been notified that if the minor remains out of their physical custody for the period specified in Section 366.26, the minor may be declared permanently free from their custody and control.


(3) The minor is suffering severe emotional damage, as indicated by extreme anxiety, depression, withdrawal, or untoward aggressive behavior toward himself or herself or others, and there are no reasonable means by which the minor's emotional health may be protected without removing the minor from the physical custody of his or her parent or guardian.


(4) The minor or a sibling of the minor has been sexually abused, or is deemed to be at substantial risk of being sexually abused, by a parent, guardian, or member of his or her household, or other person known to his or her parent, and there are no reasonable means by which the minor can be protected from further sexual abuse or a substantial risk of sexual abuse without removing the minor from his or her parent or guardian, or the minor does not wish to return to his or her parent or guardian.


(5) The minor has been left without any provision for his or her support, or a parent who has been incarcerated or institutionalized cannot arrange for the care of the minor, or a relative or other adult custodian with whom the child has been left by the parent is unwilling or unable to provide care or support for the child and the whereabouts of the parent is unknown and reasonable efforts to locate him or her have been unsuccessful.


(6) In an Indian child custody proceeding, continued custody of the child by the parent or Indian custodian is likely to result in serious emotional or physical damage to the child, and that finding is supported by testimony of a "qualified expert witness" as described in Section 224.6.


(A) Stipulation by the parent, Indian custodian, or the Indian child's tribe, or failure to object, may waive the requirement of producing evidence of the likelihood of serious damage only if the court is satisfied that the party has been fully advised of the requirements of the Indian Child Welfare Act (25 U.S.C. Sec. 1901 et seq.), and has knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily waived them.


(B) Failure to meet non-Indian family and child-rearing community standards, or the existence of other behavior or conditions that meet the removal standards of this section, will not support an order for placement in the absence of the finding in this paragraph.


(d) The court shall make a determination as to whether reasonable efforts were made to prevent or to eliminate the need for removal of the minor from his or her home or, if the minor is removed for one of the reasons stated in paragraph (5) of subdivision (c), whether it was reasonable under the circumstances not to make any of those efforts, or, in the case of an Indian child custody proceeding, whether active efforts as required in Section 361.7 were made and that these efforts have proved unsuccessful. The court shall state the facts on which the decision to remove the minor is based.


(e) The court shall make all of the findings required by subdivision (a) of Section 366 in either of the following circumstances:


(1) The minor has been taken from the custody of his or her parent or guardian and has been living in an out-of-home placement pursuant to Section 319.


(2) The minor has been living in a voluntary out-of-home placement pursuant to Section 16507.4.


CREDIT(S)


(Added by Stats.1976, c. 1068, p. 4773, § 10. Amended by Stats.1982, c. 978, § 20, eff. Sept. 13, 1982, operative July 1, 1982; Stats.1984, c. 867, § 1; Stats.1984, c. 1246, § 4; Stats.1984, c. 1608, § 4, eff. Sept. 30, 1984; Stats.1984, c. 1608, § 12, eff. Sept. 30, 1984, operative Jan. 1, 1985; Stats.1985, c. 440, § 2; Stats.1986, c. 1122, § 11; Stats.1987, c. 1485, § 38; Stats.1990, c. 182 (A.B.1528), § 7; Stats.1992, c. 382 (S.B.1646), § 2; Stats.1996, c. 1084 (S.B.1516), § 4; Stats.1996, c. 1139 (A.B.2647), § 8.5; Stats.1997, c. 793 (A.B.1544), § 15; Stats.2002, c. 180 (A.B.886), § 2; Stats.2003, c. 862 (A.B.490), § 10; Stats.2005, c. 639 (A.B.1261), § 10; Stats.2006, c. 838 (S.B.678), § 48.)

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