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In Re J.G., A Person Coming Under the Juvenile Court Law. v. Jimmie G

April 11, 2013


(Super. Ct. No. JD231901)

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

In re J.G.



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 This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

Jimmie G., the father of one-year-old J.G., appeals from an order of the Sacramento County Juvenile Court terminating his parental rights. (Welf. & Inst. Code, §§ 366.26, 395; unless otherwise stated, all statutory references that follow are to the Welfare and Institutions Code.)

On appeal, father contends the order terminating parental right must be reversed because efforts by the Sacramento County Department of Health and Human Services (Department) to locate and serve father prior to the jurisdiction and disposition hearing were not reasonable. We affirm the juvenile court's order.


Originating Circumstances

In September 2011, mother gave birth to J.G. several weeks prematurely while father was away on vacation. Two days later, father returned to Sacramento and visited J.G. at the hospital. Two days after the visit, mother was released from the hospital. Father's name does not appear on J.G.'s birth certificate.

On the day of J.G.'s birth, the Department received a Child Protective Services (CPS) referral. Mother had tested positive for cocaine; J.G. had tested positive for benzodiazepine; mother had received poor prenatal care; and J.G. was born prematurely. Mother admitted to hospital staff that she had used cocaine two to three times per day during her pregnancy. Mother's extensive CPS history includes loss of parental rights to three children, loss of physical and legal custody to a fourth child, and long-term placement of a fifth child.

After mother's release from the hospital, father talked to her and learned that J.G. had been born prematurely and was still hospitalized.

On October 4, 2011 (and again on October 11, 2011), social worker Ana Romero spoke to maternal cousin D.W., who had brought mother home from the hospital. D.W. explained that mother "usually calls her once a year for transportation," "when she needs to be picked up from the hospital," after she "deliver[s] her babies." D.W. said she would call around to see if mother could be located.

Also on October 4, 2011, Social Worker Romero tried unsuccessfully to locate mother at an address provided on the referral.

On October 5, 2011, Social Worker Romero learned that mother had called the hospital and had left a telephone number. Romero called the number and left a detailed message. Mother did not return Romero's call.

That same day, Social Worker Romero received a telephone call from maternal relative S.S., requesting placement of J.G. in her home. S.S. said she had last spoken with mother two months previously and had no contact information for mother or knowledge of her whereabouts. S.S. said she would drive around the areas where mother had been known to hang out and would call back with any new information. The next day, Romero telephoned S.S. who reported she had not been able to locate mother.

On October 7, 2011, Maria Velasco, a Department staff person, had contact with relatives D.W. and S.G. Velasco asked these relatives to advise mother to contact the Department.

On October 11, 2011, a hospital social worker advised Social Worker Romero that mother and father had visited the hospital on October 7, 2011, looking for J.G. The parents were informed that J.G. had been taken into protective custody and were given Social Worker Romero's name and telephone number. Mother had indicated she was aware of the court hearing. Father was identified as "Jimmy [G.]" and described as "about 30 years old." Romero called the telephone number that mother had given to the hospital social worker and discovered the number had been disconnected.


On October 11, 2011, the Department filed a petition alleging that J.G. came within section 300, subdivisions (b), (g), and (j), in that mother had a long history of substance abuse; she and the child had tested positive for drugs at the time of the birth; mother's whereabouts were unknown; and mother had failed to reunify with five other children.


Neither parent was present at the detention hearing on October 12, 2011. The juvenile court found a prima face showing had been made that J.G. came within section 300.

Jurisdiction and Disposition

In preparation for the jurisdiction and disposition hearing, the Department filed a "Declaration of Due Diligent Search" for father. The only identifying information known to the Department was the name, "Jim ...

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