In the Matter of Neleh B. (Anonymous). Administration for Children's Services, respondent; Quincy J. (Anonymous), appellant. (Proceeding No. 1) In the Matter of Winter B. (Anonymous). Administration for Children's Services, respondent; Quincy J. (Anonymous), appellant. (Proceeding No. 2) Docket Nos. N-19940-14, N-19941-14
Kahn, New York, NY, for appellant.
Zachary W. Carter, Corporation Counsel, New York, NY (Deborah
A. Brenner and Qian Julie Wang of counsel), for respondent.
Seymour W. James, Jr., New York, NY (Dawne A. Mitchell, Susan
Clement, and Eileen Murphy of counsel), attorney for the
WILLIAM F. MASTRO, J.P., MARK C. DILLON, HECTOR D. LASALLE,
FRANCESCA E. CONNOLLY, JJ.
DECISION & ORDER
proceeding pursuant to Family Court Act article 10, Quincy J.
appeals from (1) an order of fact-finding of the Family
Court, Queens County (Emily Ruben, J.), dated April 20, 2017,
and (2) an order of disposition of the same court dated July
19, 2017. The order of fact-finding, after a hearing, found
that Quincy J. neglected the children Winter B. and Neleh B.
The order of disposition, insofar as appealed from, directed
that Quincy J. have supervised parental access with the child
Neleh B. at the discretion of the Administration for
Children's Services until and including December 21,
that the appeal from the order of fact-finding is dismissed,
without costs or disbursements, as that order was superseded
by the order of disposition and is brought up for review on
the appeal from the order of disposition; and it is further,
ORDERED that the appeal from so much of the order of
disposition as directed that Quincy J. have supervised
parental access with the child Neleh B. at the discretion of
the Administration for Children's Services until and
including December 21, 2017, is dismissed as academic,
without costs or disbursements; and it is further, ORDERED
that the order of disposition is affirmed insofar as
reviewed, without costs or disbursements.
proceeding pursuant to Family Court Act article 10 has its
origins in an alleged incident of domestic violence. Quincy
J. (hereinafter the appellant) allegedly hit the mother of
the subject children, Neleh B. and Winter B., with his hand
and pushed the mother on top of the children. The appellant
is the putative father of Neleh and was adjudicated a person
legally responsible for Winter. The petition filed by the
Administration for Children's Services (hereinafter ACS)
alleged that the appellant neglected the children by engaging
in domestic violence against the mother in the presence of
the children, when Winter was six years old and Neleh three
a fact-finding hearing, a caseworker employed by ACS
testified that Winter told her that the appellant hit the
mother. Winter also told the caseworker that she was hurt
when the appellant pushed her mother on top of her and Neleh,
who was an infant at the time. In addition, Winter said that
she was fearful that the appellant would hit her mother if he
were to return to the home. The mother testified at the
fact-finding hearing that there were regular arguments and
incidents of domestic violence, which included the appellant
hitting her with his hand and pushing her. One such incident
left the mother with a bruised face, prompting a call to the
police and a report by the responding officers. The mother
identified a photograph depicting these facial bruises, and
the photograph was admitted into evidence at the hearing.
the fact-finding hearing, the Family Court found that ACS
established by a preponderance of the evidence that the
appellant neglected the children. Thereafter, the Family
Court held a dispositional hearing and issued the order of
disposition appealed from, which, inter alia, released the
children to the custody of the mother and directed that the
appellant have supervised parental access with Neleh at the
discretion of ACS until and including December 21, 2017.
appeal from so much of the order of disposition as directed
that the appellant have supervised parental access with Neleh
at the discretion of ACS until and including December 21,
2017, must be dismissed as academic, as that part of the
order has already expired (see Matter of Grayson J.
[Sharon H.], 119 A.D.3d 575, 576; Matter of Amiya S.
[Twana J.F.], 100 A.D.3d 763). However, the appeal from
that portion of the order of disposition which brings up for
review the finding that the appellant neglected the children
is not academic, since the adjudication of neglect
constitutes a permanent and significant stigma which might
indirectly affect the appellant's status in future
proceedings (see Matter of Jemima M. [Aura M.], 151
A.D.3d 862, 863; Matter of Grayson J. [Sharon H.],
119 A.D.3d at 576-577).
party seeking to establish neglect must show, by a
preponderance of the evidence, first, that a child's
physical, mental or emotional condition has been impaired or
is in imminent danger of becoming impaired and second, that
the actual or threatened harm to the child is a consequence
of the failure of the parent or caretaker to exercise a
minimum degree of care in providing the child with proper
supervision or guardianship" (Nicholson v
Scoppetta, 3 N.Y.3d 357, 368 [citation omitted];
see Family Ct Act § 1012[f][i]; Matter of
Anthony S. [Dawn N.], 98 A.D.3d 519, 520). A child's
out-of-court statements relating to an allegation of neglect
may, if adequately corroborated by evidence tending to
establish their reliability, support a finding of neglect
(see Family Ct Act § 1046[a][vi]; Matter of
Eric P. [Omar P.], 155 A.D.3d 1041). "The rule
requiring corroboration is flexible, and any other evidence
tending to support the reliability of the child's
statements may be sufficient corroboration. The Family Court,
as the trier of fact, has considerable discretion in
determining whether the child's statements are
sufficiently corroborated and whether the record as a whole
supports a finding of [neglect]" (Matter of
Christopher L., 19 A.D.3d 597, 597 [citations omitted];
see Matter of Imman H., 49 A.D.3d 879, 880).
agree with the Family Court's finding that a
preponderance of the evidence established that the
children's physical, mental, or emotional condition was
impaired or was in imminent danger of becoming impaired by
the appellant's domestic violence against the mother in
the presence of the children (see Matter of Jada F.
[Carolyn F.], 97 A.D.3d 575; Matter of Kiara C.
[David C.], 85 A.D.3d 1025, 1026; Matter of Jayda
D.-B., 33 A.D.3d 998, 998).
out-of-court statements that the appellant hit her mother and
that described an incident when the appellant pushed the
mother on top of her and Neleh were reliably corroborated by
the mother's testimony regarding the incident and
evidence of the mother's physical injury (see
Family Ct Act § 1046[a][vi]; Matter of ...