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Court Hears Case Regarding Child Neglect


Matter of Michael A.

2018 NY Slip Op 05154

July 11, 2018


This is an appeal brought by a mother regarding Family Court Article 10, dated November 16, 2016. The order denied the mother’s motion that established the petitioner had failed to make adequate efforts to achieve reunification between the mother and child.

The order was modified by deleting portions of the mother’s motion which directed the petitioner to provide the other and mother’s counsel with advanced notice of hearings in Spanish and to submit housing applications.

The petitioner commenced a proceeding in May 2014, alleging child neglect. This was based on mental health allegations. Physicians determined that the mother operated at a very low level of functioning and was diagnosed with an unspecified neurocognitive disorder. The child was put into foster care. A second mental health evaluation said that she suffered within a mild range of intellectual disability and her adaptive abilities were considered severe.

The court conducted a fact-finding hearing and concluded that the mother failed to provide the necessities of life for the child. The court also found that the petitioner had made reasonable efforts to reunify mother and child.

The mother had missed three evaluation appointments when she finally did appear. During her exam, it was determined that her levels were slightly higher. It was thought perhaps that this was because her first several evaluations were conducted in English.

The permanency hearing commenced, and the mother moved for a determination that the petition had failed to make reasonable efforts for reunification because the petitioner didn’t tailor the plan to the mother’s disability.

The motion also addressed the applicability of Title II of the American with Disabilities Act, and petitioner failed to tailor the plan in accordance with the Act. The motion also asked the petitioner to purchase services, provide her housing opportunities, and provide written notice of any conferences in English.

The court denied the mother’s motion. The court felt that the petitioner had made reasonable efforts. Also, the court found that the petitioner wasn’t requested to tailor its services under the ADA.

At the end of the hearing, it must be determined whether reasonable efforts have been made to the child’s permanency plan (Matter of Tramel V AD3d 520). Reasonable efforts must be intended to eliminate the need for continued placement of the child.

Here, the petitioner created supervised visitation ad petitioner made reasonable efforts to find support service for the child. The mother continued to remain responsible for completing the recommended services.

The mother failed to demonstrate that she was entitled to an order directing the petitioner to pay for services.

Considering the court’s determination, the parties remaining contentions needn’t be addressed.

Family law matters can be stressful and emotionally difficult. It is important that you don’t try to handle these matters on your own. You need an experienced lawyer who will ensure that your legal rights are protected. Contact the law offices of Stephen Bilkis and Associates for guidance and a free consultation. Whether you have a custody matter, divorce proceeding or a child support issue, call them today for assistance.

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