The juvenile court properly exercised its broad discretion to make orders in the best interest of the minor when it placed minor with biological father over presumed father’s objection. The minor was removed from presumed father and stepmother due to physical abuse. Mother had substance abuse and mental health issues. The presumed father was not the minor’s biological father. C.H., minor’s biological father, had visited with the minor five to ten times, including overnight visits, though minor was not aware he was her biological father. Following removal, C.H. began visiting with minor by weekly video chats and in person when he traveled to California. At the disposition hearing, the juvenile court found that it was in the minor’s best interest to be placed with C.H. Presumed father appealed, and the reviewing court affirmed. While a biological father is not entitled to custody under section 361.2, the juvenile court has broad discretion in crafting orders for the well-being of a dependent child. Here, C.H. had a previous relationship with the minor and came forward promptly to express an interest in the minor, initiating regular visitation. Thus, the juvenile court did not abuse its discretion when it found that placement of minor with C.H. was in her best interest.
The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: