Articles Posted in Child Abuse & Neglect

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The appellant (hereinafter the mother), is the mother of the three children who are the subjects of these neglect proceedings. In the early morning hours of February 4, 2009, the children, then aged six years, four years, and nine months, respectively, were found by a police officer wandering the streets alone. The next day, February 5th, the New York City Administration for Children’s Services (hereinafter ACS) filed petitions in the Family Court, alleging that the mother neglected her children as a result of this incident. The Family Court issued an order of protection prohibiting all contact between the mother and her children, with the exception of ACS-supervised visitation. The children were then paroled to the care of their non-respondent father and his mother (the children’s paternal grandmother), with whom the father lived.

On June 2, 2009, the mother orally requested a hearing pursuant to Family Court Act § 1028 for the return of her children. Ultimately, the Family Court denied the mother’s request for a Family Court Act § 1028 hearing on the ground that a hearing was not required because the children were paroled to the father’s care. Instead, the Family Court granted an application of the attorney for the children for a hearing pursuant to Family Court Act § 1061 to modify the order of protection. While a Family Court Act § 1028 hearing must be held within three court days after the application, there is no requirement that a Family Court Act § 1061 hearing be held within any period of time. The Family Court Act § 1061 hearing was not held for nearly 1½ years, during which time the children remained in their father’s care. The Family Court Act § 1061 hearing was eventually scheduled for the same day that oral argument on the instant appeal was scheduled before this Court. Several months later, while the determination of this appeal was pending, by order dated October 20, 2010, the Family Court returned the children to the mother.

The question presented on this appeal is whether a Family Court Act § 1028 hearing is triggered by the removal of a child from the home of one parent and temporary placement into the custody of another parent or relative, or whether such hearing is triggered only where a child is placed into government-administered foster care. Although the Family Court returned the children to the mother while the determination of this appeal was pending, we find that this case nevertheless presents a justiciable controversy, and we reverse the order denying the mother’s application for a Family Court Act § 1028 hearing.

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The question presented by the instant case is whether the evidence adduced on NYCCS’s direct case at the combined Family Court Act § 1027 hearing, for the child DD, and Family Court Act § 1028 hearing, for the children JJ and BB, establishes imminent risk sufficient to warrant the children remaining in non-kinship foster care during the pendency of these proceedings. In the Court’s view, that question must be answered in the negative since any possible risk to the children from the father can be mitigated by the issuance of a temporary order of protection and an order that the mother re-enter a domestic violence shelter and resume domestic violence counseling, as well as her participation in other recommended services.

This proceeding was initially commenced on June 3, 2010, when NYCCS filed petitions against respondent mother and respondent father pursuant to Article 10 of the Family Court Act. The petitions alleged that the mother and father failed to provide a minimum degree of care to their three children since the father committed acts of domestic violence against the mother in the presence of the children and both parents failed to ensure that the school-aged children attended school regularly.

Upon the filing of the petition, the court granted NYCCS’s request for a removal of the children and directed that they be restrictively placed with the maternal grandmother. In addition, the court entered a temporary order of protection against the father. That order directed the father to refrain from committing any family offenses against the children or the maternal grandmother and stay away from them except for visitation supervised by the grandmother or the agency.

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This extension of placement proceeding under Section 1055 of the Family Court Act raises questions as to the perimeters of the Family Court’s jurisdiction.

MR was born on June 19, 1982. Less than two months later, she was remanded to the Commissioner of Social Services who has had responsibility for her since that time. On November 22, 1982, after a finding of neglect, MR was placed with the Commissioner for 18 months. On December 8, 1982, the Commissioner placed the child with St. Christopher’s Home for Children, an authorized agency, which in turn placed her with F Parents, where she continues to reside.

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In this proceeding under Family Court Act article 10, the New York City Corporation Counsel, on behalf of the Administration for Children’s Services, seeks leave of the court to allow the respondent’s placement with the Commissioner of Social Services [CSS] to lapse, in light of the respondent’s placement with the New York State Division for Youth [DFY].

This court placed the respondent, now fourteen years old, with CSS on October 22, 1991. The Commissioner of Social Services brought a neglect proceeding against the respondent’s father, after the father left respondent in the care of a girlfriend without making any provision for the child’s care. Respondent’s mother died in 1987. CSS worked with the father for the respondent’s return to his care for four years, during which time the father intermittently was incarcerated. In the summer of 1995, the 13 year old respondent ran away from foster care and took up residence with his father.

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On June 20, 2011, the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) filed a petition against respondent mother alleging that she derivatively severely abused the subject child by committing reckless or intentional acts that evinced a depraved indifference to human life and caused serious physical injury to the subject child’s five-year-old sibling Jamar resulting in his death.

The subject child under the age of eighteen whose parent subjected the child to reckless or intentional acts committed under circumstances evincing a depraved indifference to human life, which resulted in serious physical injury to the child as defined in subdivision ten of section 10.00 of the penal law:

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In this case, respondent mother is the mother of the four subject children. The father is the father of these children and a person legally responsible for them, resides in Grenada where the children resided with a maternal aunt and visited with their father until the summer of 2005. During the years that the twins resided in Grenada, they had telephone contact with respondent mother, however, they rarely saw her.

On January 4, 2007, New York City Children’s Services (hereinafter, “NYCCS”) filed abuse and neglect petitions against respondent mother and respondent father in Kings County Family Court. The petitions alleged that respondent father committed a sex offense against the child. The above incidents were alleged to be in violation of article 130 of Penal Law, including but not limited to §§ 130.20 (sexual misconduct),1 130.65 (sexual abuse in the second degree),2 and 260.10 (endangering the welfare of a minor).

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The motion by defendant Board of Education of the Long Beach School District to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a cause of action is granted.

This is a pro se action for educational malpractice and the wrongful bringing of a neglect proceeding in the Family Court. Plaintiff and her husband have a 14 year old daughter who attends public school in Long Beach. Defendants are the Board of Education of the Long Beach School District and the Nassau County Department of Social Services (“DSS”).

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At issue on this appeal is whether the City of New York and a child protective service, defendant Louise Wise Services (LWS), sued herein as Louise Wise Agency, are insulated by immunity from liability for injuries allegedly sustained by children, both in connection with their judicial placement into the foster care system and subsequently, while in the custody of various foster homes. This Court concludes that although these defendants are insulated from liability with respect to the initial placement, they are answerable for any injuries sustained as the result of the failure to adequately supervise foster parents to ensure that children entrusted to their care are not subjected to mistreatment.

The plaintiffs Deborah (Debbie) and Sean M. are siblings, born on December 29, 1976 and January 16, 1980, respectively. They were removed from the child custody of their natural parents in February 1982 after it was determined that the five-year-old Debbie had contracted gonorrhea of the throat. The children were first placed with defendant Catholic Guardian Society and, after approximately two months, were transferred to the custody of defendant LWS. At her deposition, Debbie testified, inter alia, that in the first foster home, she was kept in her room “hour after hour.” In the second home, she was beaten and pushed into a glass, cutting her wrist; the foster mother told Debbie to say that she had fallen off a bicycle. Ms. Vasquez, the third foster parent, pulled her hair, struck her and routinely confined her to a room; a male child in the same home fondled her, at least once, between the legs. Debbie was then between five and seven years old. In another home on Long Island, the foster parent was not abusive, but the older children used to have “oral sex parties” with Debbie. She was ultimately returned to her mother’s home, where she was subjected to constant physical abuse by her mother and stepfather.

The complaint, dated September 5, 1985, alleges that plaintiffs were subjected to physical and sexual abuse, both within and outside the foster care system. The first and second causes of action allege that the City of New York and its agencies, the Human Resources Administration and the Department of Social Services (collectively, the City), failed to act on reports of abuse and neglect received since January 1977 by taking timely and appropriate action to remove, respectively, plaintiff Debbie M. and plaintiff Sean M. from the custody of their biological parents. The third and fourth causes of action allege that from the time they were placed in foster care in February 1982 until March 1984, plaintiffs were subjected to abuse and neglect in a series of foster homes and were denied adequate medical care. It is further alleged that after Family Court returned them to their mother’s home, plaintiffs were subjected to further abuse and neglect. The complaint asserts that defendants breached their duties to investigate complaints of abuse and neglect, to provide a clean and safe environment for the children and to furnish appropriate medical treatment.

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On June 20, 2011, the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) filed a petition against respondent mother alleging that she derivatively severely abused the subject child by committing reckless or intentional acts that evinced a depraved indifference to human life and caused serious physical injury to the subject child’s five-year-old sibling Jamar resulting in his death.

The subject child under the age of eighteen whose parent subjected the child to reckless or intentional acts committed under circumstances evincing a depraved indifference to human life, which resulted in serious physical injury to the child as defined in subdivision ten of section 10.00 of the penal law:

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This termination of parental rights (TPR) proceeding was brought pursuant to Social Service Law (SSL) section 384–b by Petitioner against respondent in connection to her child, age four. The petition, filed August 24, 2009, seeks to terminate the parental rights of RM on the grounds of mental illness.1 The Court held a fact finding hearing on September 22, 2010, October 18, 2010, December 21, 2010, January 18, 2011, January 20, 2011, January 21, 2011, February 4, 2011, March 4, 2011 and April 26, 2011. On June 27, 2011, counsel delivered oral summations with supplemental written summations submitted to the Court on July 8, 2011.

The petitioner presented the testimony of one (1) witness: a qualified expert in the field of clinical psychology. Respondent presented the testimony of two (2) witnesses: a qualified expert in the field of forensic psychology, and RM who testified on her own behalf. Petitioner also submitted for judicial notice the following court orders, decisions and documents/photographs, in connection with the underlying child protective proceeding and prior termination of parental rights proceeding brought against RM as to her child, who was freed for adoption by order dated June 24, 2008.

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