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In re Bridget W.

Supreme Court of New York, First Department

December 10, 2013

In re Abigail Bridget W., A Dependent Child Under the Age of Eighteen Years, etc., and Janice Antoinette W., Respondent-Appellant, Episcopal Social Services, Petitioner-Respondent.

Kenneth M. Tuccillo, Hastings on Hudson, for appellant.

Marion C. Perry, New York, for respondent.

Karen Freedman, Lawyers for Children, Inc., New York (Shirim Nothenberg of counsel), attorney for the child.

Tom, J.P., Friedman, Acosta, Moskowitz, Gische, JJ.

Order, Family Court, New York County (Rhoda Cohen, J.), entered on or about September 13, 2012, which, upon a fact-finding determination that respondent mother suffers from a mental illness, terminated her parental rights to the subject child, and committed custody and guardianship of the child to petitioner agency and the Commissioner of Social Services for the purpose of adoption, unanimously affirmed, without costs.

Petitioner met its burden of proving by clear and convincing evidence that respondent is mentally ill within the meaning of Social Services Law § 384—b(4)(c) and (6)(a) (see Matter of Joyce T., 65 N.Y.2d 39 [1985]; Matter of Genesis S. [Irene Elizabeth S.], 70 A.D.3d 570 [1st Dept 2010]). As a result of respondent's illness, she is unable, at present and for the foreseeable future, to provide proper and adequate care for the subject child. The court properly relied upon the unrebutted court-appointed expert's diagnosis and testimony as to the nature and severity of respondent's mental illness, which was based, among other things, on her evaluation of respondent and her review of the relevant medical and foster care records (see Matter of Mar De Luz R., 95 A.D.3d 423 [1st Dept 2012]). Further, respondent's testimony demonstrated, among other things, a lack of insight into her mental illness, as well as her compromised ability to care for the child. In addition, respondent was unable to establish compliance with prescribed medication needed to control her illness (id.).

The court correctly dispensed with a dispositional hearing, which was not required since this is a case of termination for mental illness (see Matter of Joyce T., 65 N.Y.2d at 46—50; In re Jeremiah M., 109 A.D.3d 736, 737 [1st Dept 2013]).


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