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Adoption of Douglas (and five companion cases) (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-022-16)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.  If you find a typographical error or other formal error, please notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, 1 Pemberton Square, Suite 2500, Boston, MA, 02108-1750; (617) 557-1030; SJCReporter@sjc.state.ma.us   SJC-11918   ADOPTION OF DOUGLAS (and five companion cases[1]).     February 17, 2016. Adoption, Standing, Visitation rights, Care and protection.  Parent and Child, Adoption, Care and protection of minor.   Minor, Visitation rights, Care and protection.  Practice, Civil, Care and protection proceeding, Assistance of counsel.  Supreme Judicial Court, Superintendence of inferior courts.   These cases are appeals of consolidated care and protection petitions concerning six children — Douglas, Tom, Brian, Mark, Cole, and Frank.  The appeals are brought by the biological mother of the six children; by the biological father of the two oldest children (father I) — Douglas and Tom; and by four of the children — Douglas, Tom, Brian, and Mark.  They appeal from the provisions of decrees of the Juvenile Court denying parental visitation after termination of the parental rights of the mother, father I, and the biological father of the four younger children (father II) — Brian, Mark, Cole, and Frank.[2]  The Appeals Court, in a memorandum and order pursuant to its rule 1:28, dismissed the appeals of the mother and father I.  It concluded that neither had standing to challenge the orders concerning visitation because their parental rights had been terminated after the consolidated hearings, pursuant to G. L. c. 119, § 26, and G. L. c. 210, § 3, were concluded, and they had not appealed from the entry of the termination decrees.  See Adoption of Douglas, 87 Mass. App. Ct. 1118 (2015).  With respect to the appeal of the four children, the Appeals Court affirmed the decrees of the Juvenile Court.  Id.  We granted further appellate review, and affirm the Juvenile Court judge’s decrees.   Background.  The Department of Children and Families (department) filed a care and protection petition on behalf of Douglas, Tom, Brian, and Mark, alleging neglect due to substance use and domestic abuse of all four children.  The department subsequently filed a care and protection petition on behalf of Cole and Frank, and the two petitions were consolidated.  On March 3, 2010, the mother, father I, and father II each stipulated to his or her current unfitness and that their respective children were in need of care and protection.[3]   On June 3 or 4, 2013, each of the parents submitted a written stipulation acknowledging his or her current unfitness, agreeing to the issuance of a decree terminating his or her respective parental […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - February 17, 2016 at 8:09 pm

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