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In Re Q. P. et al., Persons Coming Under the Juvenile Court Law. v. D. P

December 9, 2010

IN RE Q. P. ET AL., PERSONS COMING UNDER THE JUVENILE COURT LAW. SACRAMENTO COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT,
v.
D. P., DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.



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

In re Q.P.

CA3

NOT TO BE PUBLISHED

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 This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

Father (D. P.) appeals from the juvenile court's jurisdictional and dispositional orders that removed minors Q. P. and B. P. from the parents' custody but granted the parents reunification services. (Welf. & Inst. Code,*fn1 § 395.) Mother (A. P.) has not appealed.

Father contends: (1) the evidence did not support jurisdiction; (2) the minors should not have been removed from his custody; (3) the court did not consider alternatives to removal. We shall affirm.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

The First Petition

On January 4, 2007, Sacramento County Department of Health and Human Services (the department) filed a petition under section 300, subdivisions (b) and (j), as to Q. P., a female born in August 2006, alleging in part:

Mother's parental rights had been terminated as to the minor's two half siblings. Q. P. was at risk in mother's custody because mother had not made significant progress in addressing or resolving her developmental delays, mental health problems, and instability.

The detention report alleged: Mother, now 20 years old, had engaged in prostitution and marijuana use. She had been a dependent minor in Yolo County, but had not benefited from services. She was slightly retarded mentally and needed psychotropic medication; by her own admission, she was illiterate. She had her first child when still a dependent herself; after she had her second child, she absconded from her placement with the maternal grandmother and reunification services were not ordered. She had a history of moving around or running, drug use, and relationships with inappropriate men.

Mother had been with the 35-year-old alleged father (D. P.) since she was 17. He had two children from a prior relationship whom he had not seen since 2003. He denied substance abuse, domestic violence, and mental health problems, but admitted a 2003 residential burglary and a DUI arrest in 1991 when he was in the military. He said he and mother planned to marry soon.

The department offered family maintenance services to the parents after Q. P.'s birth but lost contact with the family in November 2006.

At the detention hearing, the juvenile court found D. P. the presumed father, ordered the minor's release to the parents if they were living with the paternal grandmother or great-grandmother, and ordered the department to refer the parents for reunification services.

The jurisdiction/disposition report recommended dismissing the section 300 petition because things were now going well. On January 31, 2007, the juvenile court dismissed the petition.

The Second Petition

On May 19, 2009, the department filed a petition under section 300, subdivisions (b) and (g), as to Q. P. and B. P. (a male born in July 2007), alleging: On or around May 15, 2009, father left the minors with a person he had known briefly without sufficient provisions for support. When law enforcement officials contacted him, he failed to make alternative arrangements for the minors' care. His whereabouts were unknown.

The detention report added: Father left the minors with a female acquaintance, then failed to return the next day as promised. Law enforcement officers determined that he did not intend to pick up the minors. He did not have a job or a car and was being evicted. The parents were not together and their whereabouts were unknown.

However, an addendum report stated that the parents had been located and were back together. Father said that after they split up, he gave the minors to a friend to provide them day care, but she was evicted; then he gave them to another friend who did not have a telephone; then he was late getting to her place to pick them up. The department recommended dismissing the second petition. On May 28, 2009, the juvenile court did so.

The Third Petition

On August 27, 2009, the department filed new petitions as to both minors under section 300, subdivisions (b) and (j), alleging: The parents had a history of leaving the minors with various caretakers without provisions for support. On or around July 9, 2009, father left the minors with non-relative extended family members K. B. and T. B. without provisions for support. On or around August 25, 2009, the minors were found at UC Davis Medical CAARE Center to be suffering from dental decay, dermatitis, speech delay, and skin rash; they had had these conditions since they were left with K. B. and T. B.

The detention report added: According to K. B. and T. B. and the minors' paternal aunt, the parents had been evicted and were now living in a tent by the river. The paternal aunt found them there on June 25, 2009, took the minors and kept them with her until July 4, 2009, then returned them to the parents. Five days later, at the paternal aunt's request, K. B. and T. B. took the minors in, after obtaining written authority from the parents to deal with medical emergencies. The minors' dental decay and diaper rash were severe; their teeth were black and rotten. While staying with K. B. and T. B., the minors acted as if starved, shoving food into their mouths and overeating if not watched. Mother had not visited since the minors were dropped off, and father visited on August 12, 2009. When he visited, the minors acted strange and seemed afraid of him. Afterward, their behavior regressed. T. B. was concerned about father's mental health.

On August 25, 2009, trying to reach father by telephone, the social worker got a voice mail message saying he was "not in the office, but possibly on Gilligan[']s Island off of Hagginwood ...


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