Physical Abuse, Citation: Welf. & Inst. Code § 300
A child may be considered dependent when:
- 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 the 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.
- The child is younger than age 5 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.
- The child's parent or guardian caused the death of another child through abuse or neglect.
- 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.
For the purposes of this subdivision, 'severe physical abuse' means:
- Any single act of abuse that 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 that causes significant bleeding, deep bruising, or significant external or internal swelling
- More than one act of physical abuse, each of which causes bleeding, deep bruising, significant external or internal swelling, bone fracture, or unconsciousness
- The willful, prolonged failure to provide adequate food
Neglect, Citation: Welf. & Inst. Code § 300
A child may be considered dependent when:
- 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 the parent or guardian to adequately supervise or protect the child
- The willful or negligent failure of the parent or guardian to adequately supervise or protect the child from the conduct of the custodian with whom the child has been left
- The willful or negligent failure of the parent or guardian to provide the child with adequate food, clothing, shelter, or medical treatment
- 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
- The child's sibling has been abused or neglected, and there is a substantial risk that the child will be abused or neglected. 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.
Sexual Abuse/Exploitation, Citation: Welf. & Inst. Code § 300; Penal Code § 11165.1
A child is considered dependent if he or she has been sexually abused; there is a substantial risk that the child will be sexually abused, as defined in § 11165.1 of the Penal Code, by his or her parent, guardian, or a household member; 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.
'Sexual abuse' means sexual assault or sexual exploitation as defined below:
- 'Sexual assault' includes rape, incest, sodomy, lewd or lascivious acts upon a child, or child molestation.
- 'Sexual exploitation' refers to any of the following:
- Depicting a minor engaged in obscene acts; preparing, selling, or distributing obscene matter that depicts minors; employing a minor to perform obscene acts
- Knowingly permitting or encouraging a child to engage in, or assisting others to engage in, prostitution or a live performance involving obscene sexual conduct, or to either pose or model alone or with others for purposes of preparing a film, photograph, negative, slide, drawing, painting, or other pictorial depiction involving obscene sexual conduct
- Depicting a child in, or knowingly developing, duplicating, printing, or exchanging any film, photograph, videotape, negative, or slide in which a child is engaged in an act of obscene sexual conduct
Emotional Abuse, Citation: Welf. & Inst. Code § 300
A child is considered dependent if he or she is suffering serious emotional damage, or is at substantial risk of suffering serious emotional damage, as 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. No child shall be found to be a dependent person 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.
Abandonment, Citation: Welf. & Inst. Code § 300
A child is considered dependent when:
- The child has been left without any provision for support.
- Physical custody of the child has been voluntarily surrendered pursuant to § 1255.7 of the Health and Safety Code, and the child has not been reclaimed within the 14-day period specified in subdivision (e) of that section.
- The child's parent has been incarcerated or institutionalized and cannot arrange for the care of the child.
- 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.
- 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.
Standards for Reporting, Citation: Penal Code § 11166
A report is required when a person has, based upon facts that could cause a reasonable person in a like position, drawing, when appropriate, on his or her training and experience, reasonable suspicion of child abuse or neglect. 'Reasonable suspicion' does not require certainty that child abuse or neglect has occurred nor does it require a specific medical indication of child abuse or neglect; any reasonable suspicion is sufficient.
Persons Responsible for the Child, Citation: Welf. & Inst. Code § 300
A person responsible for a child's welfare includes the child's parent or guardian. As used in this section, 'guardian' means the legal guardian of the child.
Exceptions, Citation: Welf. & Inst. Code §§ 300; 300.5
Serious physical harm does not include reasonable and age-appropriate spanking to the buttocks where there is no evidence of serious physical injury.
No child shall be found to be dependent solely due to the lack of an emergency shelter for the family.
A physical disability, such as blindness or deafness, is not considered a bar to raising happy and well-adjusted children unless a parent's disability prevents him or her from exercising care and control.
A child whose parent has been adjudged a dependent child 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.
In any case in which a child is alleged to be dependent 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.