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In re Tymel P. (Anonymous)

Supreme Court of New York, Second Department

January 10, 2018

In the Matter of Tymel P. (Anonymous), also known as Tyemel J. P. (Anonymous). Coalition for Hispanic Family Services, respondent; Tyrone P. (Anonymous), appellant. (Proceeding No. 1) In the Matter of Tyequal P. (Anonymous), also known as Tyeqail E. P. (Anonymous). Coalition for Hispanic Family Services, respondent; Tyrone P. (Anonymous), appellant. (Proceeding No. 2) Docket Nos. B-9943-13, B-9944-13

          Jeffrey C. Bluth, New York, NY, for appellant.

          James M. Abramson, PLLC, New York, NY (Dawn M. Orsatti of counsel), for respondent.

          Seymour W. James, Jr., New York, NY (Tamara A. Steckler and Diane Pazar of counsel), attorney for the children.

          MARK C. DILLON, J.P., ROBERT J. MILLER, BETSY BARROS, LINDA CHRISTOPHER, JJ.

          DECISION & ORDER

         Appeals from two orders of disposition of the Family Court, Kings County (Ilana Gruebel, J.), both dated March 15, 2017 (one as to each child), and a decision of that court dated May 16, 2016. The orders of disposition, insofar as appealed from, after fact-finding and dispositional hearings, and upon a fact-finding order of that court dated January 6, 2016, and the decision dated May 16, 2016, terminated the father's parental rights and transferred guardianship and custody of the children to the petitioner, Coalition for Hispanic Family Services, and to the Commissioner of Social Services of the City of New York for the purpose of adoption.

         ORDERED that the appeal from the decision dated May 16, 2016, is dismissed, without costs or disbursements, as no appeal lies from a decision (see Schicchi v J.A. Green Constr. Corp., 100 A.D.2d 509); and it is further, ORDERED that the orders of disposition are affirmed insofar as appealed from, without costs or disbursements.

         The appellant is the father of two children, who have been in a non-kinship foster home since 2010, when their sister was fatally abused by their mother and maternal grandmother. The father and mother were not married to each other. After fact-finding and dispositional hearings, the Family Court found that the father had permanently neglected the subject children, terminated his parental rights, and transferred guardianship and custody of the children to the petitioner, Coalition for Hispanic Family Services (hereinafter the agency) and to the Commissioner of Social Services of the City of New York for the purpose of adoption.

         Contrary to the father's contentions, the Family Court did not err in finding that he had permanently neglected the children (see Social Services Law § 384-b). There was clear and convincing proof that, despite the agency's diligent efforts to encourage and strengthen the parental relationship, the father, for a period of one year following the children's placement with the agency, failed to substantially and continuously maintain contact with the children, and failed to plan for the future of the children, although physically and financially able to do so (see Social Services Law § 384-b; Matter of Star Leslie W., 63 N.Y.2d 136). The father's mere participation in classes and programs was not enough to meet the requirement to plan for the children's future when he did not benefit from the services, programs, and support offered and did not utilize the tools or lessons learned in those classes in order to successfully plan for the children's future (see Matter of Jessica U. [Stephanie U.], 152 A.D.3d 1001; Matter of Aniya L. [Samatha L.], 124 A.D.3d 1001, 1004).

         A dispositional order suspending judgment is a dispositional alternative, upon a finding of permanent neglect, that affords "a brief grace period designed to prepare the parent to be reunited with the child" (Matter of Michael B., 80 N.Y.2d 299, 311; see Family Ct Act § 633). In essence, an order suspending judgment provides the parent with a second chance, but it may be utilized only when the court determines that a second chance is in the child's best interests (see Family Ct Act §§ 631, 633; Matter of Michael B., 80 N.Y.2d at 311; Matter of Jalil U. [Rachel L.-U.], 103 A.D.3d 658, 659). Contrary to the father's contention, the Family Court properly determined that termination of his parental rights was in the best interests of the children, and that a suspended judgment was not appropriate given the father's lack of insight into his problems and his failure to address the primary issues which led to the children's removal (see Matter of Lasuree A.B. [Carla S. B.], 141 A.D.3d 578, 579; Matter of Aaliyah L.C. [Jamie A.], 128 A.D.3d 955, 956; Matter of Kayla S.-G. [David G.], 125 A.D.3d 980, 981; Matter of Justice C. [Wanda C.], 124 A.D.3d 885, 885-886; Matter of Chanel C. [Vanessa N.], 118 A.D.3d 826, 828; Matter of Christopher T. [Margarita V.], 94 A.D.3d 900, 901).

         Further, the record supports the Family Court's determination that the best interests of the children would be served by freeing them for adoption by their foster mother, with whom they had bonded and resided for seven years (see Matter of Xiomara D. [Faith D.], 141 A.D.3d 585, 585; Matter of Corey S. [Angel S.], 112 A.D.3d 641, 642; Matter of Anthony R. [Juliann A.], 90 A.D.3d 1055, 1056-1057; Matter of "Baby Boy" E., 42 A.D.3d 536, 536-537; Matter of Juanita F., 291 A.D.2d 496).

         The father's remaining contention is without merit.

          DILLON, J.P., MILLER, BARROS and ...


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