In the Matter of Hector P. (Anonymous).
(Anonymous), appellant. (Proceeding No. 1) Catholic Guardian Services, et al., respondents; Mariana In the Matter of Pedro V. P. (Anonymous). Catholic Guardian Services, et al., respondents; Mariana V. (Anonymous), appellant. (Proceeding No. 2) Docket Nos. B-3867-13, B-3868-13
L. Kahn, New York, NY, for appellant.
T. Gatti, New York, NY (Douglas H. Reiniger of counsel), for
respondent Catholic Guardian Services.
Seymour W. James, Jr., New York, NY (Tamara A. Steckler and
Raymond E. Rogers of counsel), attorney for the children.
REINALDO E. RIVERA, J.P., SANDRA L. SGROI, COLLEEN D. DUFFY,
VALERIE BRATHWAITE NELSON, JJ.
DECISION & ORDER
by the mother from two orders of fact-finding and disposition
(one as to each child) of the Family Court, Richmond County
(Arnold Lim, J.), both dated February 2, 2016. The orders,
after fact-finding and dispositional hearings, found that the
mother permanently neglected the subject children, terminated
her parental rights, and transferred guardianship and custody
of the children to the Commissioner of the Administration for
Children's Services of the City of New York and Catholic
Guardian Services for the purpose of adoption.
that the orders of fact-finding and disposition are affirmed,
without costs or disbursements.
petitioner Catholic Guardian Services filed two petitions,
one as to each of the subject children, pursuant to Social
Services Law § 384-b and Family Court Act article 6, to
terminate the mother's parental rights on the ground of
permanent neglect. In the two orders of fact-finding and
disposition appealed from, made after fact-finding and
dispositional hearings, the Family Court found that the
mother had permanently neglected the children, terminated her
parental rights, and transferred custody and guardianship of
the children to the petitioner and the Commissioner of the
Administration for Children's Services of the City of New
York. The mother appeals.
Family Court improperly determined that the petitioner
established a prima facie case of permanent neglect on the
basis of a trial brief, consisting of a summary of facts
submitted by its counsel (see generally Simplex Grinnell,
LP v Ruby Weston Manor, 59 A.D.3d 610, 611), and the
mother's failure to dispute the factual allegations in
the trial brief (see generally Matter of Hailey ZZ.
[Ricky ZZ.], 19 N.Y.3d 422, 429; Matter of Philip
M., 82 N.Y.2d 238, 244). However, the petitioner's
progress notes, which were admitted into evidence without
objection, established a prima facie case of permanent
neglect, and the mother had the opportunity to cross-examine
the petitioner's caseworker, who was called as a witness
by the attorney for the children (see generally Matter of
Angel P. [Evelyn C.-Keith G.], 137 A.D.3d 793, 795;
Matter of Jeremiah J.W. [Tionna W.], 134 A.D.3d 848,
to the mother's contention, the petitioner established by
clear and convincing evidence that it made diligent efforts
to encourage and strengthen the parental relationship
(see Matter of Melisha M.H. [Sheila B.R.], 119
A.D.3d 788; Matter of Elasia A.D.B. [Crystal D.G.],
118 A.D.3d 778, 779; Matter of Darryl A.H. [Olga
Z.], 109 A.D.3d 824). These efforts included
facilitating visitation, providing a visitation coach to
encourage interaction with the children during visits,
providing the mother with referrals to parenting classes,
domestic violence programs, and mental health therapy, and
finding suitable housing for her. Despite these efforts, the
mother failed to plan for the children's future, and
failed to correct the conditions that led to the removal of
the children from her custody (see Matter of Melisha M.H.
[Sheila B.R.], 119 A.D.3d at 788; Matter of Elasia
A.D.B. [Crystal D.G.], 118 A.D.3d at 779; Matter of
Zechariah J. [Valrick J.], 84 A.D.3d 1087, 1087-1088).
Family Court properly determined that it was in the best
interests of the children to terminate the mother's
parental rights (see Matter of Zachi D.D. [Jeffrey
D.],124 A.D.3d 776, 777; Matter of Zechariah J.
[Valrick J.], 84 A.D.3d at 1088-1089). Contrary to the
mother's contention, the entry of a suspended judgment
was not appropriate here in light of the mother's
continued lack of insight into her problems and the
children's special needs, and her failure to acknowledge
and address many of the issues which led to the
children's removal from her in the first instance
(see Matter ...