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Court Decides Possible Termination of Parental Rights


A father was imprisoned and was ultimately sentenced to a determinate sentence of ten years upon his conviction for attempted robbery. While, the man was in prison his wife gave birth to their child.

A New York Family Lawyer said in order of filiation declaring the father was then entered and while he was incarcerated, he filed a request seeking visitation with his child, resulting in the issuance of an order of custody. The order provided that the mother would have the child custody and the father would have visitation at least once a month.

Subsequently, the child came into the care of the county’s department of social services as the result of an emergency removal. A New York Custody Lawyer said 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.

Consequently, the court issued an order of fact finding and disposition with continued placement. The court then modified the permanency plan to adoption, and shortly thereafter, changed to dual goals of adoption/reunification with the mother.

A Brooklyn Family Lawyer said based on records, the court 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 on the ground of permanent neglect. But, the said petitions were withdrawn.

The complainants, who have cared for the child continuously since he was first placed with them, initiated proceedings to terminate both parents’ parental rights on the ground of permanent neglect. The court subsequently denied a motion challenging the complainant’s standing to seek termination of parental rights, and ruled that the father’s consent to the child’s adoption is required.

Afterward, the request to terminate the father’s parental rights proceeded to trial separately from the petition naming the mother as the opponent, which has been held in abeyance pending the outcome of the petition against the father.

A man, who was the child’s new caseworker, testified that he was assigned as the caseworker for the child’s case at the time of the child’s removal, and that he continued in that role with the specific period.

The man testified that a woman, the previous caseworker, visited the father in the correctional center. A Brooklyn Child Custody Lawyer said the woman advised the father that the child was placed into foster care and requested that the father provide a plan for his son.

In response to the woman’s request, the father identified his mother, whom he described as elderly, as a potential placement resource. The woman initially concluded that the man’s mother was not a possible resource based upon the father’s characterization of his mother as elderly. The father then suggested his former wife’s new husband, as a possible placement resource.

At a meeting, the new husband agreed to be a resource for the child. The department of social services performed a home inspection of the new husband’s apartment and determined that it was unsuitable. For that reason, the husband was considered not possible as a resource.

The man further testified that 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.

The man acknowledged that subsequent to the father’s meeting with the other caseworker, the father wrote eight letters addressed to him and/or his supervisor. The man, however, delayed in responding to the said letters and when he wrote a letter to the father introducing himself as the assigned caseworker and informing the father that the child remained in the foster care.

The man also acknowledged that during his term as the assigned caseworker, he received letters from the father nearly every week.

Later, the man 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 another woman as a visiting resource and indicated that he couldn’t plan for his son while in jail. But, the woman was also deemed not to be a possible resource.

The complainant in this matter was certified as a foster parent by the department of social services, and the child has been in her continuous care. She also attended every planning service review since the child has been placed in her care.

The father further testified that he was in prison prior to the child’s birth, but released after serving seven years in jail. He did not file a petition to establish paternity because he knew that the 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 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 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.

The father testified that the plan for the child, which he approved, was placement of the child with the wife’s new husband. It was not until approximately two years after the child was removed from the mother’s care and that the father became aware that the new husband had not been approved by the departmen of social services as a possible resource.

The father sent numerous letters attempting to learn the assigned caseworker’s name and his son’s status. It was in addition to near daily letters addressed to the department of social services, intended to be given to his son. The postage for the letters was paid for from the father’s six dollar bi-weekly income.

The father then received a letter advising him that the department of social services was still working with the mother but that a termination petition was possible, and emphasizing the need for placement resources for the child. In response, the father wrote to the man’s supervisor, expressing concern about the possibility of a termination petition, offering to do whatever is needed, and providing additional information about the paternal grandmother. The father did not receive a response to the letter.

With regards to the plan of the child, the father testified that he completed a parenting class while in prison and had a job waiting upon his release, and that he provided the department of social services with documentation thereof. The father also planned to rent a house after his release from prison.

Sources revealed that the court is well aware of the strong bond that the complainant had developed with the child. Indeed, they have served as the child’s primary care givers for almost five years, and it is clear that they care very deeply for him. Nevertheless, the burden of demonstrating grounds to terminate an individual’s parental rights is a high one, and has not been met in the case. Consequently, the court ordered to dismiss the petiition.

If you want to seek visitation rights, you can ask legal assistance from the Nassau County Child Visitation Lawyer or Nassau County Family Lawyer. Furthermore, you can also hire the Nassau County Child Custody Attorney to fight for your child’s guardianship or if you want to have your child’s sole custody. You can call Stephen Bilkis and Associates office for queries.

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