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In re STEPHANIE F., a Person Coming Under the Juvenile Court Law. v. ALONZO F

November 30, 2010


APPEAL from orders of the Superior Court of San Diego County, Peter Fagan, Temporary Judge. (Pursuant to Cal. Const., art. VI, § 21.) Affirmed. (Super. Ct. No. J516863a)

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Aaron, J.

In re Stephanie F. CA4/1


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 This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

Alonzo F. appeals orders terminating his parental rights to his daughter, Stephanie F., and referring Stephanie for adoption. He contends that the court erred by terminating his parental rights because he showed that the benefits to Stephanie of their beneficial parent-child relationship outweighed the benefits that she would gain from adoption, within the meaning of Welfare and Institutions Code*fn1 section 366.26, subdivision (c)(1)(B)(i). We affirm the orders.


On October 1, 2007, the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency (the Agency) petitioned on behalf of infant Stephanie under section 300, subdivision (b), based on her mother, Ursula D.'s, use of cocaine and marijuana.

Ursula stated that during her pregnancy with Stephanie, she hid her drug use from Alonzo by lying to him and leaving their home for days at a time. When the social worker asked Alonzo to test for marijuana use, he refused and said that he did not want to incriminate himself.

Stephanie was initially detained in foster care and later went to live with her maternal grandfather and stepgrandmother (together, the grandparents). On November 7, 2007, the court found the allegations of the petition true, declared Stephanie a dependent child of the juvenile court, placed her in out-of-home care and ordered Ursula and Alonzo to comply with the provisions of their case plans.

Alonzo and Ursula participated in reunification services. Alonzo reported that he worked part time for the paternal grandmother, and lived in a condominium that the paternal grandmother owned. Later, after foreclosure of the condominium, he lived with friends and in hotels. Alonzo lost his job, but then worked two jobs to sustain himself. He attended parenting classes, began attending Al-Anon meetings and therapy, and struggled to find suitable housing for himself and Stephanie. He and Ursula had appropriate visits with Stephanie, including unsupervised visits, but the grandparents complained that Alonzo sometimes missed visits and later made excuses. At the six- and 12-month review hearings, the court continued Stephanie's dependency and continued services.

On September 25, 2009, at the 18-month permanency hearing, the court found that Alonzo had made substantive progress with the provisions of his case plan and that Ursula had made some progress. The court ordered Stephanie placed with both Alonzo and Ursula.

Five days later, however, the maternal grandfather left a message for the social worker, reporting that Alonzo and Ursula had "got[ten] into it," and that Ursula was in jail. Police learned that Ursula had arrived at the apartment she shared with Alonzo very early in the morning and started banging on the door. Alonzo was angry at being awakened. At 2:00 a.m., Ursula began cooking. Alonzo threw a skillet on the floor, and, as he walked behind Ursula, she cut him with a knife.*fn2 Alonzo called a friend to take him to the hospital and told the friend that he did not want the police involved. Alonzo's friend nevertheless called police. Alonzo suffered two stab wounds and required surgery to repair his colon. Ursula was arrested for inflicting injury on a spouse and assault with a deadly weapon.

The Agency filed a supplemental petition, alleging that Alonzo and Ursula were no longer able to provide adequate care for Stephanie. On December 1, 2009, the court sustained the petition, continued Stephanie as a dependent child, ordered her placed in relative care, terminated reunification services and set a section 366.26 hearing. Stephanie was returned to live with the grandparents. The court issued a temporary restraining order to protect Alonzo from Ursula.

The social worker assessed Stephanie as adoptable. She was healthy, smart and engaging. She had lived with the grandparents for most of her life. She was bonded to them, and they wanted to adopt her. In addition, there were other approved adoptive ...

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