Legal Question in Family Law in California

County failed to notify me of mothers death. Put her in Foster care

When i was about 19 or 20 (im 40 now) I had one night stand. 3 or 4 years later, I was served with papers saying i was a father, etc. I had a DNA test that came back positive. I made a few attempts to make contact with my Daughter over the years but it seemed that I was being blocked by her mother. I accepted that because i thought I had little choice.

A few days ago I recieved a call from the county Social Services where she lives.I was told that my daughter turned 18, was about to be emancipated from the system and wished to make contact. I of course am happy about meeting her....but i wondered why social service was involved here in the first place. I asked her where her mother was and was told that she died when my daughter was young!!! I asked why I was not informed of this before she was put into the system and the case worker did not know. (she saqid she was new).

I dont know for how many years she has been in foster care when I could have raised her. I am very upset. Were my rights as a father violated? What recourse is there? What are my options?

Asked on 4/18/06, 5:29 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

KATHIE SIMMONS KATHIE SIMMONS
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Re: County failed to notify me of mothers death. Put her in Foster care

It sounds as if the social services agency may have taken the mother's word for it that you had abandoned your daughter. They are not in the business of looking for missing parents. I had a client that had been paying support for years before the mother and daughter disappeared. He was contacted just before an adoption was finalized when the agency realized that they had been given an address for him. Nevertheless, it was found to be in the girl's best interest to be adopted. They may have made a mistake here but it is the mother that you should be angry with. You also may want to take responsibility for the outcome as having been a direct result of your own actions. Your efforts to establish a relationship apparantly did not include filing a court case. You could have gotten a visitation order and been able to step up when she was taken into care. Now that she has aged out you can be a lifeline. Be kind even if she isn't the daughter you would have raised.

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Answered on 4/19/06, 5:09 pm

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