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Family Court Act § 1034

A Kings Domestic Violence Lawyer said that, New York City Administration for Children’s Services (hereinafter petitioner) filed an application for a prepetition ex parte court order seeking access to enter the home of a family subject to an ongoing child protective investigation that was commenced by a report to the State Central Registry (hereinafter SCR) on July 13, 2009. The SCR report concerned allegations of possible domestic violence occurring in the presence of the children. Brought pursuant to Family Court Act § 1034, titled “Power to order investigations,” the instant application pertains to the family consisting of the parents and their five children, ages 12, 10, 8, 7 and 3. Petitioner’s application for an order of entry into their home set forth: A report of suspected child abuse or maltreatment was made to SCR on July 13, 2009. The report stated that there was concern about ongoing domestic violence in the home involving the father assaulting his wife with the most recent incident occurring several days earlier when the father beat his wife so severely that she required stitches to her forehead. The SCR report set forth the belief that this altercation occurred in the presence of all of the children.

A Kings Criminal Lawyer said that, on the same date the report was made and again on July 15, 2009, the CPS worker assigned to investigate the SCR report conducted home visits to the case address and left written notes requesting that the parents contact her. The mother and her five children went to petitioner’s field office and met with the CPS worker. She, however, “refused to provide any personal information” and would not allow the CPS worker to speak to the children alone or in her presence; the child also refused to speak to the CPS worker. When the CPS worker asked her if she would agree to schedule an appointment to permit her to conduct a visit to the home, she replied no because she did not know her. The CPS worker continued to make several more attempts to gain entry into the Smith home through telephone contact and subsequent unannounced home visits. On July 28, 2009, the CPS worker sent a letter advising the parents of their need to cooperate with her investigation.

On August 4, 2009, the CPS worker visited the summer camp, which the four oldest children attended, in an effort to interview them; all of the children refused to speak to her. Thereafter, the CPS worker made several more attempts to visit the home and to contact the parents by telephone with no success. On August 24, 2009, the CPS worker made another unannounced home visit and again left a written note for the parents asking them to contact her. On September 2, 2009, the CPS worker made an unannounced home visit and while Mrs. Smith answered the door she did not permit the CPS worker into the home stating, “She was not prepared to receive company.” The CPS worker spoke to Mrs. Smith in the hallway and asked her to attend a family conference at her office the next day, September 3, 2009, at 10:00 A.M. Although she agreed to attend the meeting neither she nor her husband did so.

On September 3, 2009, after the parents failed to attend the family meeting, the CPS worker again conducted an unannounced home visit and left the parents another letter informing them that a child safety conference would be held the next day, September 4, 2009, at 2:30 P.M. The letter advised the parents that if they failed to attend the conference the matter would be referred to Family Court. The parents did not attend the child safety conference on September 4, 2009, nor did they call the CPS worker to provide any excuse for their absence.
A Kings Order of Protection Lawyer said that, petitioner’s application also sets forth that the family is known to Kings County Family Court under docket. A finding of neglect was entered against each parent as to their children on September 14, 2006. Further, a final order of protection, prohibiting the use of corporal punishments as to the children, was issued against the parents for a one-year period. The application concludes that, given the SCR report and the steps taken by the CPS worker to conduct the investigation, probable cause exists to believe that an abused or neglected child or children may be found at the premises where the Smith family resides and that an order permitting the CPS worker to enter the home between the hours of 6:00 A.M. and 9:00 P.M. in order to evaluate the home environment of the children should be issued.

A Kings Sex Lawyer said that, this court initially heard petitioner’s application on the date it was filed, September 8, 2009. Following a preliminary review of the application, the court noted that it failed to specify who the source of the report to the SCR. was when the court inquired about this missing information, the court learned that the allegations were made to the SCR by an anonymous source. The matter was then adjourned to permit petitioner additional time to personally serve the parents with its application and to allow the court the opportunity to review the family’s prior neglect case.

The issue in this case is whether the application petitioner has filed meets the requirements of Family Court Act § 1034 as amended by the State Legislature in 2006.

To be continued….

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