This appeal, brought by an authorized agency under social services, seeks to entrust the guardianship and child custody of three children to the agency for the purpose of consenting the adoption to the foster mother. A New York Family Lawyer said the children came into a foster care following the birth of the youngest child with positive toxicology for heroin. The court then directed the mother to enter in an inpatient drug program and complete a parenting skills class.
At initial progress note, the mother of the children told the case worker that she did not know what to do to get her kids back. The case worker informed the mother that there would be a conference to determine what services she would need. There is no evidence of when, or whether, such a conference was held or the outcome of the conference. Another case worker asked the mother whether she were enrolled in any drug program, and the mother presented the agency with proof that she completed the detoxification. The next entry, the case worker asked the mother why she had not gone to her program. The mother explained that she wanted to see her son who would be coming from upstate for the holidays.
The service plan review occurred and it was attended by the supervisor, case worker and service plan review coordinator. A New York Child Custody Lawyer said apparently, neither the foster mother nor the biological mother was present. The document reflects that the mother visited her children consistently at the agency and kinship foster home. The document revealed that the biological mother has entered & completed a seven day detoxification program. However, she has failed to enter a drug treatment program.
Another case note was entered stating that the purpose of a meeting between the case worker and the mother was to discuss the referrals. According to the note, the worker asked the mother about entering the program and the mother stated that she now had to wait for them to find a bed for her. The case worker discussed a new referral for a new program. The mother stated that this wasn’t necessary as they would find a bed. Presumably, the entry associates to the 28 day detoxification of the mother, which is the only program mentioned in the records.
Consequently, there was another meeting between the mother and the case worker to discuss again the referrals. Again, the case worker asked the mother why she hadn’t gone to the detoxification program. The mother stated that she was going soon. The case worker confronted the mother and stated that she always had an excuse. Apparently, there is no evidence in the case record that any further discussion about the referrals occurred after the said meeting.
Afterwards, the case work supervisor met with the mother. The case note entry states that the mother appeared nervous but interacted appropriately with the supervisor. A Queens Family Lawyer the supervisor informed the mother that her children will have been in care for a year and she has not completed any of her service plans. The supervisor further informed the mother that she has not entered into drug treatment, therapy or parenting. In addition, she didn’t also secure housing. The supervisor also informed the mother about the time frame and if she continues not to plan, the agency will change the goal to adoption and proceed to terminate her rights.
The supervisor then met again with the mother. The case note states that the supervisor informed the mother that she is not planning effectively for her children and she has not completed any of her service plans regarding in patient drug treatment, counseling, parenting, securing housing and income. The mother however acknowledged that she has not completed any of the programs and is not currently in any program. She also stated that a friend of her told her about a drug treatment program and she want to go there. The supervisor told the mother that she would call the program to make a referral but stated that if it was an outpatient program she would have to be referred to another inpatient program as per court order.
The supervisor also asked the mother about her housing status. The mother responded that she still resides with her mother but has filed out a housing application. The mother also told the supervisor that she has no income at that time.
In the next case note, the supervisor meets with the foster mother of the children. The supervisor also stated to the foster mother that the status of the case remains in adoption.
Consequently, the biological mother and the foster mother attended the service planning conference. The attendees of the conference include the supervisor, the case worker, the biological mother, the foster mother, the third party reviewer and a case manager. The document in evidence states that the goal for the next six months is that the foster children will be adopted by the foster mother and the mother will enter to a residential drug treatment program and parenting skills training program.
A temporary case worker was introduced to the biological mother and informed her that she would be covering her case until a new caseworker was hired. The temporary case worker writes that she reviewed the service plan with the mother. She also told the mother that in order to have her children returned to her she must complete the service plan. The mother stated that she was ordered to enter a drug free program and she did not think she would be able to do that because of the antidepressants and sleep medication she takes. But, the mother told the temporary case worker that she wanted to be drug free.
The temporary case worker contacted the mental health clinic, which includes outpatient substance abuse counseling, to obtain information regarding the mother’s eligibility for the program in light of her Medicaid status. A representative advised the temporary case worker that the mother should come in to the program in order to complete an assessment regarding her needs as they relate to her substance abuse problem and to discuss the Medicaid issue. The representative told the supervisor that the mother could walk in any day. The supervisor gave the mother a letter and on the same date, and for the first time insofar as the records in evidence, the supervisor referred the mother for a parenting skills class and individual counseling. She referred the mother to a doctor in a community center, which did not require a fee for their services. The representative requested a letter from the agency and for the mother to contact them. The temporary case worker gave the mother the letter of referral for parenting skills and individual counseling and sent a copy to the doctor. The agency filed the instant petition two days later.
Based on records, a permanently neglected child is defined as one in the care of an authorized agency and whose parent has failed for a period of more than one year, substantially and continuously or repeatedly to maintain contact with or plan for the future of the child, in spite of the agency’s diligent efforts to encourage and strengthen the parental relationship. Therefore, the complainant must prove by clear and convincing evidence, that it applied diligent efforts to assist, develop and encourage a meaningful parent-child relationship by offering appropriate services to the parents, including by consulting and cooperating with the parents in developing a plan of appropriate services, making suitable arrangements for visitation, providing services and other assistance to the parents to resolve or make better the problems preventing the child’s discharge from care and keeping the parents informed of the child’s progress, development and health.
Consequently, the court finds that the agency failed to make reasonable efforts to assist the mother to obtain the essential medical and therapeutic service needed to resolve or improve the problems preventing the children’s discharge from care. For that reason, the appeal is dismissed.
Children are parent’s responsibility. They need someone who will guide them and assist them as they grow. If you have problems about your rights with your kids, you can ask help from the Bronx County Child Custody Lawyers. You can also ask from the Bronx County Family Lawyer. Somehow, if you need legal assistance with regards your child’s legal support from your better half, simply call the Bronx County Child Support Attorney at Stephen Bilkis and Associate