In the Matter of Nazeral C. S. (Anonymous). New York Foundling Hospital, petitioner-respondent; Christina S. (Anonymous), appellant, et al., respondent.
S. Hecht, Forest Hills, NY, for appellant.
Gartenstein, Long Island City, NY, for petitioner-respondent.
Seymour W. James, Jr., New York, NY (Tamara A. Steckler and
Patricia Colella of counsel), attorney for the child.
C. BALKIN, J.P. LEONARD B. AUSTIN SANDRA L. SGROI VALERIE
BRATHWAITE NELSON, JJ.
DECISION & ORDER
by the mother from an order of fact-finding and disposition
of the Family Court, Kings County (Ilana Grubel, J.), dated
June 14, 2016. The order, after fact-finding and
dispositional hearings, found that the mother was presently,
and for the foreseeable future, unable by reason of mental
illness to provide proper and adequate care for the subject
child and that the mother permanently neglected the child,
terminated her parental rights, and, in effect, transferred
custody and guardianship of the child to the Commissioner of
the Administration for Children's Services of the City of
New York and New York Foundling Hospital for the purpose of
that the order of fact-finding and disposition is affirmed,
without costs or disbursements.
petitioner commenced this proceeding to terminate the
mother's parental rights to the subject child. After a
fact-finding hearing, the Family Court determined that the
mother was presently, and for the foreseeable future, unable
by reason of mental illness to provide proper and adequate
care for the child, and, additionally, that the mother
permanently neglected the child. On those bases, after a
dispositional hearing, the court terminated the mother's
parental rights, and, in effect, transferred custody and
guardianship of the child to the petitioner and the
Commissioner of the Administration for Children's
Services of the City of New York for the purpose of adoption.
The mother appeals.
to the mother's contention, the petitioner demonstrated,
by clear and convincing evidence, that she is presently and
for the foreseeable future unable, by reason of mental
illness, to provide proper and adequate care for the child
(see Social Services Law § 384-b[c]; see
Matter of Divinity I.H. [George T.J.], 133 A.D.3d 601,
601-602; Matter of Tyler M.J. [Adrianna J.], 104
A.D.3d 768, 768-769; Matter of B. Mc. [Dawn Mc.], 99
A.D.3d 713, 713-714). The record reveals a long history of
symptomatic mental illness and recurrent hospitalizations.
The court-appointed psychologist testified that the mother
suffers from schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type, and
opined that if the child were returned to the mother, he
would be at risk of being neglected in the present and in the
foreseeable future. This conclusion was based upon
disturbances in the mother's thinking, feeling, behavior,
and judgment due to her mental illness, her inability over a
protracted period to consistently comply with treatment, her
inability to "function independently in terms of
self-care, " such as by maintaining housing or an
income, and her inability to provide stability and safety to
petitioner further demonstrated, by clear and convincing
evidence, that the mother permanently neglected the child.
"To establish that a parent has permanently neglected a
child, an agency must establish by clear and convincing
evidence that, for a period of one year following the
child's placement with the agency, the parent failed to
maintain contact with the child or, alternatively, failed to
plan for the future of the child, although physically and
financially able to do so, notwithstanding the agency's
diligent efforts to encourage and strengthen the parent-child
relationship" (Matter of Karina J.M. [Carmen Enid
G.], 145 A.D.3d 893, 894; see Social Services
Law § 384-b, [a]; Matter of Lierre J.M.
[Melissa L.D.], 150 A.D.3d 1009, 1010). Contrary to the
mother's contention, the petitioner made diligent efforts
to assist the mother in maintaining contact with the child
and planning for the child's future, including by
facilitating visitation, repeatedly providing the mother with
referrals for drug treatment programs and mental health
evaluations, and advising the mother of her need to attend
and complete such programs and of the consequences of her
failure to do so (see Matter of Lierre J.M. [Melissa
L.D.], 150 A.D.3d at 1010; Matter of Destiny A.K.
[Barbara M.], 147 A.D.3d 758, 759; Matter of Elijah
M.A. [Mohammed A.], 135 A.D.3d 744, 746). Despite the
petitioner's diligent efforts, the mother failed to
adequately plan for the child's future, by, most
significantly, failing to address her mental health and
substance abuse issues (see e.g. Matter of Vaughn M.S.
[Patricia C.S.], 144 A.D.3d 811, 812; Matter of
Mercedes R.B. [Heather C.], 130 A.D.3d 1022, 1023;
Matter of Nicholas A.N. [Youvonne N.], 124 A.D.3d
mother's remaining contentions are without merit.
BALKIN, J.P., AUSTIN, SGROI and BRATHWAITE ...