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Name: In re Daniel H.
Case #: E030881
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 06/26/2002
Subsequent History: None

Six-month-old Daniel had four older sisters, ranging in age from 6 years to 11 years. His mother appealed an order terminating her rights and freeing Daniel for adoption. The mother’s issues all concerned sibling visitation between Daniel and his sisters. The Court of Appeal held the mother did not have standing to raise issues of sibling visitation. It observed that although an amendment to Welfare and Institutions Code section 366.26, subdivision (c)(1) in 2002 including a fifth exception to the adoption requirement relating to sibling relationships will render the standing issue moot in future cases, that amendment does not operate retroactively. That said, the Court of Appeal addressed appellant’s arguments on the merits and held that the trial court did not err when it failed to consider sibling visitation because it did not have authority to order sibling visitation since Welfare and Institutions Code section 366.29 requires the adoptive parents consent for post adoption visitation and Daniel’s adoptive parents did not want visits. The court also held that minor’s counsel was not ineffective by failing to pursue sibling visitation for that same reason. Even applying the new sibling relationship exception to adoption, the section requires a showing that termination of sibling relationship would be detrimental to the adoptive child and here the record would not support such a finding.