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Name: In re D.R.
Case #: B269663
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 8
Opinion Date: 12/14/2016

Where evidence did not support any exception to adoption, the juvenile court erred in choosing guardianship as the permanent plan for the minor. In 2013, the Agency filed a petition seeking jurisdiction over D.R. and her siblings. D.R. had lived with grandmother for most of her life, and father’s whereabouts were unknown. When father became involved in the proceedings, he requested custody of D.R., but failed to appear for scheduled appointments. Neither parent reunified with the minor. At a 366.26 hearing, grandmother expressed her willingness to adopt D.R. Father objected to adoption, arguing that the section 366.26(c)(1)(B)(i) exception applied. The court ordered legal guardianship as D.R.’s permanent plan, stating that it was because the child was living with a relative who was unable or unwilling to adopt. The appellate court reversed the order. No evidence supported the court’s stated exception to adoption. Grandmother was willing to adopt, repeatedly reaffirmed her desire to adopt, and had an approved home study. The court also rejected father’s argument that he was a presumed father and the trial court failed to make a finding of detriment necessary to terminate his parental rights. Father was a mere alleged father, and the court was therefore not required to find detriment.