In re Daniel F.Annotate this Case
In January 2019, the Agency filed a dependency petition concerning Daniel, then about 42 months old, based on Mother's untreated substance abuse. The petition alleged that Father’s whereabouts and ability and willingness to care for Daniel were unknown. Mother did not have Father's contact information but believed he resided in Mexico. The Agency contacted Father’s sister, Ana, in May 2019. In September 2019, Father was designated “not present.” The Agency reported its efforts to locate him. In October, the juvenile court terminated reunification services to Mother, and set the matter for a February 2020 permanency planning hearing. In November, Ana provided a telephone number for Father and said he was living in Mexico City “with no stable address.” The Agency left telephone messages but received no response. In January 2020, the juvenile court found that the Agency had exercised due diligence in searching for Father. At a February hearing, Mother did not appear, and the Agency reported that Father had been given notice by publication. In May, 2020, after contacting Ana, the Agency made telephone contact with Father, who opposed adoption, wanted custody, and requested an attorney.
Ultimately, the juvenile court terminated parental rights, and placed Daniel for adoption. The court of appeal affirmed the denial of Mother’s oral request to continue the permanency planning hearing but reversed the order denying Father’s petition to vacate the disposition order. Liberally construing Father’s petition, Father was entitled to an evidentiary hearing as to whether the Agency ignored the most likely means of finding him, denying him due process.