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Guardians Sue for Termination of Parental Rights

A New York Family Lawyer said that a father was in prison at the time of his child’s birth, and was ultimately sentenced to a determinate ten years of imprisonment upon his conviction for attempted robbery. While the man was in prison, he filed a petition seeking visitation with his child, resulting in the issuance of an order of custody. The order provided that the mother of the child would have the custody and the father would have visitation at the correctional center at least once a month.

Afterward, a New York Child Custody Lawyer said the child came into the care of the county’s department of social services as the result of an emergency removal. The child was then placed with foster parents. The department of social services subsequently filed a petition against the mother alleging that the child was a neglected child as a consequence of the mother’s substance abuse.

Subsequently, a Long Island Family Lawyer said the court issued an order of fact finding and disposition with continued placement. The court also modified the permanency plan to adoption, and shortly thereafter, changed to dual goals of adoption/reunification with the mother.

The court then adopted dual goals of adoption/placement with a fit and willing relative, the paternal grandmother. At the direction of the court, the department of social services filed petitions to terminate the parental rights of both the father and the mother of the child on the ground of permanent neglect.

Later, a Long Island Child Custody Lawyer said the complainants, who have cared for the child, initiated proceedings to terminate both parents’ parental rights on the ground of permanent neglect. The court subsequently denied a motion challenging the complainants’ standing to seek termination of parental rights, and ruled that the father’s consent to the child’s adoption is required.

Consequently, the petition to terminate the father’s parental rights proceeded to trial separately from the petition naming the mother as the opponent.

At trial, a man testified that he was assigned as the caseworker for the child’s case at the time of the child’s removal. He testified that the other child’s caseworker visited the father at the correctional center and the said caseworker advised the father that his child was placed into foster care and requested that the father provide a plan for his son. The father then identified his mother, whom he described as elderly, as a potential placement resource. The father also suggested the new husband of his former wife, as a possible placement resource.

Afterward, the new husband agreed to be a resource for the child and on the same day, the department of social services performed a home inspection and determined that it was unsuitable. As a result, the new husband was considered not viable as a resource.

The caseworker further testified no visitation was arranged between the father and his son and there were no attempts to arrange for planning. A subsequently planned visit with the father did not take place because the father had been moved to a correctional facility upstate.

He also acknowledged that subsequent to the father’s meeting with the other caseworker, the father wrote eight letters addressed to him and/or his supervisor. He also stated that he delayed responding to those letters because of the father’s movement from facility to facility and when he wrote a letter to the father introducing himself as the assigned caseworker and informing the father that the child remained in foster care. He further acknowledged that during his tenure as the assigned caseworker, he received letters from the father nearly every week.

He also stated that he notified the father of the need to plan for his son in order to avoid termination of his parental rights, and requested placement resources for the child. In response, the father offered a woman as a visiting resource and indicated that he couldn’t plan for his son while in jail. But, the woman was also considered not to be a viable resource.

Another caseworker testified at trial. She stated that she initially reviewed the case file and the father’s multiple letters to the department of social services. She also asserted that the father’s letters reflected his concern for his son, requests visitation and complained about not having any visits since the child’s placement in foster care. The letters also expressed his desire to enter a parenting program and complained about the failure to send photographs of his child. Further, the father also indicated in his letter that he had a specific job waiting upon his release from prison and stated that he wanted his son returned to him upon his release from prison.

The caseworker testified that she wrote thirteen letters to the father during her tenure. Two of the said letters, advised the father of the impending filing of a petition to terminate parental rights and requested information. Afterward, the caseworker forwarded correspondence to the mother’s new husband, again inquiring as to whether he would consider serving as a possible resource for the child.

Subsequently, she met with the father to arrange a possible visitation opportunity and discuss resources. At that time, the father proposed three other resources but ultimately declined to be resource.

The caseworker notified the paternal grandmother that the child was in foster care and that her name was tendered as a possible resource. During the caseworker’s visit to the grandmother’s home, the grandmother agreed to be a resource for the child.

The grandmother then filed a custody petition with the court. The department of social services then considered the grandmother as a potential viable resource for the child.

The caseworker testified that she took the child to visit the father three times, and that she exercised diligent efforts to help the father, including writing letters to him providing updates on the child, continuing to work with possible placement resources, and correspondence to the father’s criminal attorney to ascertain whether the father was engaged in parenting classes. She further testified that the father kept in regular contact with the department of social services.

The complainant also testified at trial and she avers that she was married and they were certified as a foster parent.

The child’s father also testified that he was imprisoned prior to the child’s birth, but already released after serving seven years in jail. He did not file a petition to establish paternity because he knew that his child was his son. After the department of social services filed the petition to establish paternity, DNA testing was ordered by the court because the mother of the child was married to another man at the time of the child’s birth.

Shortly thereafter, the father filed a petition seeking visitation. The resulting order, granting the father visitation one time per month at the correctional center, was complied with until the child was removed from his mother and placed in the care of the department of social services. The father’s subsequent filing of a petition seeking a modification of visitation was dismissed by the court.

With regards the father’s plan for his child, he testified that he completed a parenting class while imprisoned and had a job waiting upon his release, and that he provided the department of social services with documentation. The father also planned to rent a house after his release from prison. Consequently, the court ordered that the petition is dismissed.

Whenever you need legal assistance with regards your child’s guardianship or you want seek sole custody of your children, Nassau County Family Lawyer might be able to help you. Furthermore, Nassau County Child Custody Attorney or Nassau County Custody Lawyers at Stephen Bilkis and Associates office can also provide you and your family legal representation.

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