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In Re J. H., A Person Coming Under the Juvenile Court Law. v. E. S

September 19, 2012

IN RE J. H., A PERSON COMING UNDER THE JUVENILE COURT LAW. EL DORADO COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES, PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT,
v.
E. S., DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.



(Super. Ct. No. SDP2010-0025)

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

In re J.H.

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NOT TO BE PUBLISHED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 This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

E.S., father of the minor, appeals from the juvenile court's orders terminating parental rights and freeing the minor for adoption. (Welf. & Inst. Code, §§ 366.26, 395.)*fn1 He contends the juvenile court erred in not holding a hearing to find him to be a presumed or Kelsey S.*fn2 father. He also contends that the reunification plan and the services provided were inadequate to meet his needs. Finally, he argues that the juvenile court erred by not placing the minor in his care at the 12-month review hearing and in terminating his parental rights without making the required finding that placement in his custody would be detrimental to the minor. We affirm.

BACKGROUND

On August 2, 2010, El Dorado County Department of Human Services (the Department) filed a section 300 petition on behalf of the then three-week-old minor due to mother's mental instability and inability to care for the minor. The minor was taken into protective custody.

Although mother identified another individual as the minor's father, father contacted the Department on August 5, 2010, and informed the social worker that he was "pretty sure" he was the minor's father. At father's request, the social worker arranged for genetic testing.

The jurisdiction and disposition hearing took place on September 22, 2010. Based on the genetic test results, the juvenile court found father to be the minor's biological father and appointed counsel for him (who was not present in court at the time). The juvenile court sustained the allegations in the petition regarding mother, declared the minor a dependent child, found removal necessary, bypassed mother for services, and set a section 366.26 permanency planning hearing. Father was permitted twice monthly visits but was denied reunification services and informed he would need to contact his counsel to take action to be declared a presumed father or receive services.

On October 13, 2010, counsel for father filed a section 388 petition for modification of the disposition order. The petition requested father be provided reunification services in order to benefit the minor. The juvenile court found the request appropriate, vacated the section 366.26 hearing, and ordered reunification services for father. The reunification plan included a parenting program, a drug and alcohol assessment along with any ensuing recommendations for services or counseling, random drug testing, and visitation. Father's visitation was increased at the six-month review hearing to once a week for two hours. The social worker was authorized to increase visits further and she authorized two visits per week.

The 12-month review hearing took place on September 28, 2011. Father had not been visiting consistently. The juvenile court terminated reunification services, found continuance of the minor in the parental home would create a substantial risk of danger to the minor, and set a section 366.26 hearing.

By the time of the December 28, 2011, section 366.26 hearing, father had begun to visit the minor more regularly, bringing other family members with him. His visits had been reduced from two hours twice per week to one hour once per week. Although the minor enjoyed having the focus of father's attention, she did not respond to father with much affection and appeared to see him as a pleasant visitor, rather than a primary care provider. The juvenile court found the minor adoptable, that no exceptions to adoption were present, and terminated parental rights.

DISCUSSION

I

Father's first contention is that the juvenile court erred by failing to consider placing the minor with him at disposition pursuant to section 361.2 as a ...


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