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In Re Daniel G., A Person Coming Under the Juvenile Court v. Alexander T

April 13, 2011


Super. Ct. No. JD229303

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

In re Daniel G. CA3


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 This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

Presumed father, Alexander T. (father), appeals from the denial of his petition for modification under Welfare and Institutions Code*fn1 section 388 and from a judgment terminating parental rights. (§ 366.26.) Father's sole contention on appeal is that the trial court abused its discretion in denying the modification petition. We affirm.


While she was pregnant with Daniel, mother tested positive for methamphetamine and marijuana. At his birth, mother and Daniel both tested positive for marijuana. Mother agreed to participate in voluntary services, but did not do so. In fact, between July 2008 and March 2009, mother had over 19 positive drug tests for both marijuana and methamphetamine. Because of mother's failed drug tests, failure to attend treatment or participate in court-ordered services and her failure to make Daniel available to the social workers, in March 2009, Daniel was taken into protective custody. Daniel was declared a dependent of the court in April 2009 and reunification services were ordered for mother.

Mother named two possible alleged fathers, J. Q. and L. E. Paternity testing revealed neither was Daniel's biological father. L. E.'s parents requested placement of Daniel, irrespective of his paternity. They had known Daniel since he was two weeks old, visited with him every other weekend, and considered mother like a daughter to them. Following an assessment, Daniel was placed with the E.s on July 23, 2009.

Daniel adjusted well to his placement with the E.s. They interacted well together and Daniel had a positive relationship with the E.s, their adult children, and their three-year-old grandchild. Mrs. E. described Daniel as "bright, loves to smile, affectionate, and [a] happy child who is a delight to love and have in her life." Daniel was walking, talking, and developing normally. The E.s remained committed to adopting Daniel if mother could not reunify, as they had been since the commencement of the dependency proceedings.

Mother did not visit Daniel between July 2009 and November 2009. She was incarcerated on November 25, 2009. The social worker recommended reunification services be terminated, as mother had not actively engaged in services. The court followed this recommendation and mother's reunification services were terminated on December 10, 2009.

In an effort to determine any unknown prospective fathers, the Sacramento County Department of Health and Human Services (department) searched various databases and attempted contact with various relatives, to no avail. As of February 2010, the department no longer knew where mother was.

On March 11, 2010, father called the department and said he might be Daniel's father. He stated he had recently visited Daniel, and believed they looked alike. Mother had told him he could be Daniel's father. Mother and father had dated for four years. He knew she was pregnant, but was not certain Daniel was his child. He said mother had always said Daniel could be his child and had sent him pictures, which looked "just like him." Father later stated he had seen Daniel "'once in a while when he was born,'" but did not think Daniel was his son. Father requested paternity testing and placement with his parents if Daniel was his child.

L. E., one of the earlier alleged fathers, informed the social worker that mother was living with father and believed she could regain custody of Daniel if Daniel were placed with father. The social worker confirmed that mother was apparently living with father and suspected his reports regarding Daniel might not be credible.

Daniel had developed a significant relationship with the E.s. He was happy, active, and curious. He called the E.s Nana and Papa. The E.s ...

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