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Name: S.W. v. Superior Court
Case #: G041674
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 05/26/2009

Father’s one telephone contact was insufficient to support a continuation of reunification services at the six-month review hearing. At a six-month review hearing, the juvenile court terminated father’s reunification services and set a 366.26 hearing, finding that he had not visited the minor in the previous six months. Father did speak once to the minor on the phone, and once left a message for her. The minor called the father repeatedly, but he did not return her calls. In a writ petition, father contended that although he did not visit, his telephone contact with the minor warranted additional services. The appellate court denied the writ petition. Under a plain reading of the statute (Welf. & Inst. Code, sec. 366.21, subd.(e)), the parent must both contact and visit the child to receive additional reunification services. The failure to either contact or visit the child allows the court to terminate services. One telephone conversation in six months is not substantial contact. Nor did extenuating circumstances excuse the father’s failure to visit the child. The father’s decision to absent himself from the state does not excuse his failure to visit.