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Name: In re Jonathan P.
Case #: B249605
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 7
Opinion Date: 06/10/2014

Father had right to reunification services even though the minor had left his placement and was missing at the time of the hearing. Father had previously been granted full custody of the minor, Jonathan, but during a visit by Jonathan with his mother, father was deported, and Jonathan remained in mother’s custody. In 2012, Jonathan and his siblings were detained due to domestic violence in mother’s home. A petition was sustained and the minors were removed. The Department had been unable to find father to serve him, and the court ordered no reunification services for him. The minor left his placement, and the Department was unable to find him. Father appeared at the six month review hearing and requested custody of Jonathan, as well as reunification services. The court denied both requests, noting that the minor’s whereabouts were still unknown. Father filed a section 388 petition, making the same requests, which the court denied. On appeal, father argued that the court erred by failing to consider his request for placement under section 361.2, and that he was entitled to reunification services. The appellate court found that any harm resulting from the court’s failure to apply section 361.2 to father’s request for custody was not prejudicial. At the time of the request, the minor’s whereabouts were unknown, and the court could not make any determination concerning detriment. However, the juvenile court did err when it denied reunification services to father. The court should have ordered the Department to determine whether there were services available to father despite the minor’s absence from the proceedings. Therefore remand was required for further proceedings.