Articles Posted in Child Abuse & Neglect

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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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The matter before the court is a Motion filed by counsel for the Respondent for an Order pursuant to the provisions of Sections 100.15, 100.20, 100.30 and 100.40 of the Criminal Procedure Law, dismissing the petition for failure to state a cause of action. The original petition herein was filed by a Nassau County Detective assigned to the Juvenile Aid Bureau of the Nassau County Police Department.

The Respondent contends that since the petition was not verified in the manner prescribed by Section 100.30 of the Criminal Procedure Law and since the statement of the complainant which supports the petition was not verified as required by Section 100.20 of the Criminal Procedure Law, the petition must be dismissed.

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In a proceeding pursuant to article 6 of the Family Court Act, to adjudicate SX a permanently neglected child, and to commit him to the custody and guardianship of the Commissioner of the Nassau County Department of Social Services (DSS), the natural mother, MY, appeals from an order of disposition of the Family Court, Nassau County, entered September 16, 1983, which directed that the guardianship and custody of SX be committed to the Commissioner of the DSS on condition that the child be adopted by Mr. and Mrs. Z.

The subject of this proceeding is SX, born August 30, 1970. SX has a brother, GX, born December 4, 1967, a sister, JX, born September 20, 1971, a stepbrother, W, born May 30, 1974, and a stepsister, E, born June 26, 1975. SX’s mother is MX, who, after being divorced from SX;s father, remarried and became known as MY (the appellant).

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In this probate proceeding objections were filed and a jury demanded by respondents. A motion is now made by them to dismiss the petition before any trial on the merits upon the ground that the decedent was not a (domiciliary) resident of Nassau County at her death on February 14, 1977 as specified in SCPA 206, subd. 1. They request that the proceeding be forwarded to New York County as the “proper county of residence” and also for the convenience of witnesses.

In support of the motion there have been filed affidavits of respondents’ attorney and of respondent, along with copies of affidavits and exhibits which had been previously submitted to this court in connection with an application to revoke letters testamentary which had been issued to the proponent here on the estate of this decedent’s husband, who died on May 26, 1975. In opposition to the motion various other facts are asserted to sustain proponent’s claim that Nassau County was the domiciliary residence of decedent and both attorneys have submitted memoranda in support of their respective positions. The court has examined them and will discuss below the various facts alleged by both sides.

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The Grievance Committee for the Tenth Judicial District (hereinafter the Grievance Committee) served the respondent with a petition dated August 23, 2007, containing nine charges of professional misconduct. After a preliminary conference the Special Referee sustained charges one through six but found that charges seven through nine had not been established by a fair preponderance of the credible evidence. The Grievance Committee now moves to confirm the Special Referee’s report. The respondent cross-moves to confirm the Special Referee’s report with respect to charges seven, eight, and nine and to disaffirm with respect to charges two, four, five, and six.

A charge one alleges that the respondent allowed his professional judgment on behalf of his clients to be affected by his own financial, business, property, or personal interests in that during the course of his representation of two clients (hereinafter the clients) in a child neglect matter pending in Family Court, he had the clients convey title to their home to him in order to prevent a foreclosure sale of the property and, thereafter, sought to evict them while continuing to represent them in the Family Court matter, in violation of Code of Professional Responsibility.

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In this neglect proceeding commenced by the Nassau County Department of Social Services alleging, in essence, that a child now 15 1/2 years old had been sexually abused by the respondent, her adoptive father, for a period of approximately four (4) years prior to April 10, 1989, respondent moves for an order dismissing the petition and an award of counsel fees. A brief summary of the events leading to this motion is appropriate.

On August 30, 1989, respondent entered a general denial and the matter was set down for trial on October 30, 1989. In companion matters the Court issued temporary orders of protection removing respondent from the home and providing for supervised visitation. The amended petition in these companion matters alleges inter alia respondent’s tendency toward sadistic sexual practice as well as bestiality.

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On February 23, 2007, the Commissioner of the New York City Administration for Children’s Services (the Commissioner or ACS) filed related petitions under article 10 of the Family Court Act against respondents AN. and RB with respect to the four children who resided with them: five-month old J., five-year old JS N., five-year old D B., and two-year old DW. AN and RB are J’s parents, while AN is JS’s father and RB is the mother of D and DW. ACS had carried out an emergency removal pursuant to Family Court Act § 1024 the previous day, after social workers at Bellevue Hospital Center reported suspected child abuse to the Statewide Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment.

The petitions in these child protective proceedings alleged that J, whom AN brought to Bellevue on the evening of February 21, 2007 – hours after he claimed that the baby screamed in a way unlike ever before – had been admitted with a “shifted and fractured collar-bone with swelling”; and that, upon further examination, hospital personnel discovered four partially healed fractured ribs. The petitions also asserted that AN “inflicted excessive corporal punishment” on JS by hitting him with a “black wire,” thereby causing “excessive welts to his body”; and that RB failed to intervene to protect him. The Commissioner sought orders determining, upon clear and convincing evidence, that these four children were severely or repeatedly abused, and, upon a preponderance of the evidence, that they were victims of abuse and neglect.

At the conclusion of the hearing, Family Court determined that AN and RB abused J “in that, while in the care of AN and RB, the child sustained fractures of the clavicle and of the left 4-7 ribs and AN and RB have not offered any credible explanation for any of these injuries and that they neglected and derivatively abused JS, and derivatively abused and neglected DW and D.

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