On or about 8 July 2008, a Family Court in Bronx County found that respondent mother permanently neglected her children. The judgment was appealed and the court now affirms said order, without costs.
Here, a New York Criminal Lawyer said the court finds that the neglect findings are supported by clear and convincing evidence that petitioner made diligent efforts to assist a meaningful relationship between respondent mother and her children and that, despite these efforts, respondent mother failed to plan for the children’s future. Petitioner’s efforts included providing numerous referrals to programs tailored to respondent mother’s changing needs and consistently following up with respondent mother on such critical goals as completing a mental health evaluation and domestic violence counseling. Petitioner’s focus on the issues of health and domestic violence was the most appropriate course of action. However, respondent mother still refused to complete these critical components of the service plan. The respondent mother’s her argument that petitioner failed to assist her with such other service plan goals as obtaining suitable housing and a source of income is belied by the records of the case. Evidence was presented that petitioner indeed made referrals in these areas and monitored respondent mother’s changing housing and employment circumstances. It was respondent mother’s own lack of meaningful cooperation with petitioner that hindered her accomplishment of these goals.
On 15 September 2010, the Family Court of Queens County found that respondent father had neglected his child, and on 27 October 2010, the same court found that respondent father, upon the fact-finding order and after a hearing, should be placed under the petitioner’s supervision for a period of six months. Thus, an appeal from the said orders of the Family Court was filed and the court now finds that the appeal from the fact-finding order must be dismissed, without costs or disbursements, as the fact-finding order was superseded by the order of disposition; that the appeal from the order of disposition which placed the father under the petitioner’s supervision for a period of six months must be dismissed as academic, without costs or disbursements; and that the order of disposition must also be affirmed insofar as reviewed, without costs or disbursements.
First, the appeal from so much of the order of disposition as placed the appellant, respondent father, under the supervision of the petitioner for a period of six months must be dismissed as academic, as that portion of the order has expired by its own terms. However, since the adjudication of neglect constitutes a permanent and significant stigma that might indirectly affect the appellant’s status in future proceedings, the appeal from the order of disposition, which brings up for review the finding of neglect, is not academic.
Second, the rules provide that at a fact-finding hearing in child abuse (domestic violence) and/or neglect proceeding pursuant to Family Court Act Article 10, a petitioner has the burden of establishing, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the subject child has been abused and/or neglected. Here, the evidence adduced at the hearing established that the father, while holding the subject child, who was then less than two years old, hit, shoved, and screamed at the mother. The evidence further indicated that the father had previously committed acts of domestic violence against the mother, including slapping her, and that some of those incidents occurred in the presence of the child. While an isolated incident of domestic violence outside the presence of a child is insufficient to establish neglect, the incident of domestic violence at issue here was neither isolated nor did it occur outside the presence of the subject child. A Bronx Criminal Lawyer said the child’s physical, mental, or emotional condition was clearly in imminent danger of impairment as a result of the father’s conduct and this was established by the petitioner, by a preponderance of the evidence.
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