IN THE MATTER OF NATAYLIA C.B. AND SABASTION C.B. ONONDAGA COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES, PETITIONER-RESPONDENT; CHRISTOPHER B., RESPONDENT-APPELLANT. (APPEAL NO. 1.)
H. HISCOCK LEGAL AID SOCIETY, SYRACUSE (DANIELLE K. BLACKABY
OF COUNSEL), FOR RESPONDENT-APPELLANT.
A. DURR, COUNTY ATTORNEY, SYRACUSE (MAGGIE SEIKALY OF
COUNSEL), FOR PETITIONER-RESPONDENT.
BRADSHAW, ATTORNEY FOR THE CHILDREN, SYRACUSE.
PRESENT: CENTRA, J.P., PERADOTTO, LINDLEY, CURRAN, AND
from an order of the Family Court, Onondaga County (Michael
L. Hanuszczak, J.), entered March 2, 2016 in a proceeding
pursuant to Social Services Law § 384-b. The order,
among other things, terminated respondent's parental
rights to the subject children.
hereby ORDERED that the order so appealed from is unanimously
affirmed without costs.
In appeal No. 1, respondent father appeals from an order
that, inter alia, terminated his parental rights with respect
to the subject children on the ground of permanent neglect.
In appeal No. 2, the father appeals from an order denying in
part the father's motion to settle the record on appeal
in appeal No. 1. Contrary to the father's contention in
appeal No. 2, we conclude that Family Court did not abuse its
discretion in settling the record (see Kalbfliesh v
McCann, 129 A.D.3d 1671, 1672, lv denied 26 N.Y.3d 907).
respect to the order in appeal No. 1, the father failed to
preserve for our review his contention that the petition is
"jurisdictionally defective because it failed to set
forth the requisite diligent efforts of petitioner to
encourage and strengthen the parental relationship"
(Matter of Abraham C., 55 A.D.3d 1442, 1442-1443, lv denied
12 N.Y.3d 701). In any event, the petition "sufficiently
specified the agency's efforts, " which included
arranging visitation with the children, consulting with the
father about developing a service plan, and reviewing his
progress (Matter of Ana M.G. [Rosealba H.], 74
A.D.3d 419, 419; see Abraham C., 55 A.D.3d at 1443).
to the father's contention, his admission that he failed
to plan adequately for the children's long-term care was
sufficient to establish permanent neglect (see generally
Matter of Jason H. [Lisa K.], 118 A.D.3d 1066, 1067;
Matter of Adam L. [Marie L.-K.], 97 A.D.3d 581,
582), inasmuch as "[t]he failure of an incarcerated
parent to provide any realistic and feasible alternative to
having the child[ren] remain in foster care until the
parent's release from prison . . . supports a finding of
permanent neglect" (Matter of Alex C., Jr. [Alex C.,
Sr.], 114 A.D.3d 1149, 1150, lv denied 23 N.Y.3d 901');">23 N.Y.3d 901
[internal quotation marks omitted]). Furthermore, "in
view of the father's admissions of permanent neglect, the
court was not required to determine whether petitioner
exercised diligent efforts to strengthen and encourage the
parental relationship" (Matter of Shadazia W.,
52 A.D.3d 1330, 1331, lv denied 11 N.Y.3d 706).
reject the father's further contention that he was denied
effective assistance of [*2]counsel. Counsel cannot be deemed
ineffective " merely because the attorney counseled [the
father] to admit the allegations in the petition' "
(Matter of Michael W., 266 A.D.2d 884, 884-885; see Matter of
Leo UU., 288 A.D.2d 711, 713, lv denied 97 N.Y.2d 609), and
it is clear from the record "that [the father's]
decision to admit to the allegations of permanent neglect was
a matter of strategy" (Matter of Yusef P., 298 A.D.2d
968, 969; see Matter of Brandon B. [Scott B.], 93
A.D.3d 1212, 1213, lv denied 19 N.Y.3d 805).
we reject the father's contention that the court should
have entered a suspended judgment rather than terminating his
parental rights. In light of "the positive living
situation" of the children while residing with their
foster parents, "the absence of a more significant
relationship" between the children and the father,
"and the uncertainty surrounding both when [the father]
would be released from prison and where he would reside,
" the court properly determined that further delay was
not in the best interests of the children and that
termination of the father's parental rights was warranted
(Matter of Jazmyne II. ...