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Name: In re Andrew L.
Case #: B172587
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 8
Opinion Date: 09/10/2004
Subsequent History: 12/15/04 revw. den.

The juvenile court’s ruling which granted a petition for modification and request for reunification services for a biological father was affirmed where father did all he could do reasonably under the circumstances to demonstrate his commitment to the minor during the reunification period, and his due process rights were thwarted by the dilatory behavior of the department caseworker. A different man was identified from the inception of the proceedings as the alleged father. Mother did not notify anyone that appellant might be the biological father until after the six month review hearing. Appellant had no way to contact mother during this period of time. Appellant repeatedly phoned the worker and requested paternity testing, as soon as he found that he might be the minor’s father. The social worker failed to set up paternity testing and did not return appellant’s calls. Appellant came forward in a timely manner during the reunification stage and did all he could do under the circumstances to establish paternity; his efforts were thwarted by the social worker. It was not against the minor’s best interests to reunify him with a fit natural parent who made a timely appearance in the case. Therefore, the juvenile court properly exercised its discretion when it granted the petition for modification.