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Name: David B. v. Superior Court
Case #: G033918
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 10/28/2004
Summary

During father’s 18 months of reunification, he did everything the Department asked of him, but did not move out of a residence he shared with her sister and her husband. The Department did not inform him that such a move would be required to obtain custody of the minor, nor did it offer him any assistance in obtaining alternative housing. At the 18 month review hearing, the trial court concluded it was not safe to release the minor to her father because of his living situation, and the fact that he asked too many basic questions that parents should instinctively know. The appellate court here granted father’s writ, reversed the order setting a 366.26 hearing, and remanded with instructions for the court to reconsider. There was no support for the conclusion that father lacked parenting abilities, and the fact that he asked a lot of questions should be “lauded, not derided.” Even if the court had independently concluded that the brother-in-law presented some danger to the minor, it could have considered less drastic alternatives, like returning the minor with an order that she not have contact with the brother-in-law. If the Department believed that the minor should not be allowed to reside in that home, it should have given father a clear warning and opportunity to act on it.