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In re Tilar M.

Family Court, Queens County

August 19, 2013

In the Matter of Tilar M. II, A Person Alleged to be a Juvenile Delinquent, Respondent.

Michael A. Cardozo, Corporation Counsel (Vanessa M. Facio-Lince Of Counsel), New York City, as Presentment Agency. Tamara A. Steckler and Lisa E. Tuntigian, The Legal Aid Society, New York City, attorney for respondent.

Alan W. Sputz and Charles A. Lawson, New York City, for Commissioner of the Administration for Children's Services. Lee Prochera and Vanessa R. Icolari, Rensselaer, for Commissioner of New York State Office of Children and Family Services.

John M. Hunt, J.

By order of disposition dated April 8, 2013 this Court adjudicated Tilar M. [1] to be a juvenile delinquent and placed him in the custody of the Commissioner of the New York City Administration for Children's Services ("ACS") for a non-secure placement under the ACS Close to Home Initiative for a period of eleven months (Fam. Ct. Act §§351.2 [1]; 352.2 [1] [c]; 353.3 [1], [2-a]). [2]

The Commissioner has moved, pursuant to Family Court Act §355.1 (2), for an order modifying the Court's order of disposition and for a transfer of the custody of the respondent to the New York State Office of Children and Family Services. In support of the motion, ACS alleges, in pertinent part, that since respondent's placement in the Close to Home Initiative program:

To date, ACS has thus far been unab1le to consistently provide services and supervision to the respondent pursuant to the order placing the respondent dated April 8, 2013 due to his frequent AWOL'ing. The respondent was initially placed on December 6, 2012 with New York Foundling's non-secure placement facility located at 119 Tompkins Avenue, Staten Island, NY 10304. On December 13, 2012, the respondent left his placement without permission and while AWOL from placement was arrested on December 27, 2012.

The respondent also left his placement without permission on January 7, 2013 and January 27, 2013, returning on February 4, 2013. On February 6, 2013 due to the respondent's failure to remain in placement with New York Founding and at the request of the respondent's mother... the respondent was transferred to Boys Town non-secure placement facility located at 289 6th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11215.

On February 26, 2013, the respondent again left his placement without permission. On April 9, 2013, due to the respondent's failure to remain in placement with Boys Town, the respondent was transferred to Children's Village- Collins Cottage non- secure placement facility located [at] 1 Echo Hill, Dobbs Ferry, NY 10522. While at Children's Village, the respondent has gone AWOL on three separate occasions: on May 21, 2013, returning May 24, 2013; July 2, 2013 and July 10, 2013, returning August 10, 2013.

ACS believes that there has been a substantial change of circumstances [and] that placement of the respondent in a limited secure level of care is appropriate and consistent with the need for protection of the community and the needs and best interests of the respondent, and that respondent is therefore a person appropriate for transfer of care and custody to [the] New York State Office of Children and Family Services for placement in a limited secure setting.

On or about May 21, 2013 this Court was advised by ACS that respondent had escaped from his placement at Children's Village (see, Social Services Law §404 [13][d] [ii]), and the Court issued an arrest warrant for the respondent the following day (Fam. Ct. Act §153). Although the Court's warrant directed that respondent be taken into custody and that he be produced before this Court forthwith, he was merely returned to Children's Village by ACS personnel on July 6, 2013 when he returned from being AWOL.

The Court was informed of respondent's return to Children's Village subsequent to July 6, 2013, and on July 12, 2013 the Court issued an order to show cause pursuant to Family Court Act §353.3 (6) and §355.1, directing that respondent, his attorney, ACS, and the Presentment Agency appear so that the Court could conduct an inquiry as to whether there has been a substantial change of circumstances since his placement on April 8, 2013 as well as the need for continuing the order of disposition which places respondent with ACS for the Close to Home Initiative.

The Commissioner filed this motion prior to any hearing upon the Court's own motion, and a hearing upon the ACS motion was conducted before the Court on August 14, 2013. [3] ACS, the Presentment Agency, and the New York State Office of Children and Family Services ("OCFS") appeared by counsel, and respondent and his attorney were present at the hearing. Respondent and OCFS opposed the motion, and the Presentment Agency took no position as to the relief sought by ACS. [4]

A

ACS called Chad Collins, the Program Director for the Boys Town "non-secure placement" or "NSP" program as a witness in support of the motion. Mr. Collins has known Tilar M. during the period during which he had been placed at the Boys Town NSP program, which was from "February 7, 2013 through February 25, 2013". Mr. Collins was a "family home consultant" for Boys Town during the period that respondent was placed with that agency, and in that capacity, he had regular interaction with the respondent. Collins explained that as a family home consultant, he works directly with the resident staff who manage the group or family home, he is responsible for ensuring that the juvenile ...


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