Posts tagged "Adoption"

Adoption of Garret (and two companion cases) (Lawyers Weekly No. 11-009-18)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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   17-P-79                                         Appeals Court   ADOPTION OF GARRET (and two companion cases[1]).     No. 17-P-79.   Hampden.     October 4, 2017. – January 22, 2018.   Present:  Agnes, Sacks, & Lemire, JJ.     Adoption, Care and protection, Dispensing with parent’s consent, Visitation rights.  Parent and Child, Adoption, Care and protection of minor, Dispensing with parent’s consent to adoption, Custody.  Minor, Care and protection, Custody, Visitation rights.       Petitions filed in the Hampden County Division of the Juvenile Court Department on August 2, 2012.   The cases were heard by Lois M. Eaton, J.     Katrina McCusker Rusteika for the mother. Madeline Weaver Blanchette for Garret & another. Briana Rose Cummings for Susan. Jeremy Bayless for Department of Children and Families. William B. Tobey, for the father, was present but did not argue.     AGNES, J.  This termination of parental rights case involves a blended family consisting of seven individuals:  the mother, the father, and their child, Susan; Garret and Elizabeth, the father’s children from a prior relationship; and Peter and Michael, the mother’s children from her prior marriage.  On August 2, 2012, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) filed two petitions pursuant to G. L. c. 119, § 24, in the Juvenile Court alleging that all five children were in need of care and protection.  A judge granted DCF temporary custody of Elizabeth that same day.  DCF was subsequently granted temporary custody of the remaining four children on August 21, 2012.  Both the mother and the father waived their rights to a temporary custody hearing on September 10, 2012.  The care and protection petitions were later consolidated. The termination trial occurred over the course of eleven days in 2014; twenty-three witnesses testified and over fifty exhibits were introduced in evidence.  The judge subsequently made 913 written findings of fact and seventy-one conclusions of law, including conclusions regarding the fourteen factors enumerated in G. L. c. 210, § 3(c), with respect to each parent.[2]  As relevant to this appeal, the judge found that the mother and the father were unfit to parent Susan and their other respective children both at the time of trial and into the future.[3]  All of the children were adjudicated in need of care and protection and were committed to the care of DCF pursuant to G. L. c. 119, § 26.  Pursuant to G. L. c. 210, § 3, the judge terminated […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - January 22, 2018 at 3:53 pm

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Adoption of Talik (Lawyers Weekly No. 11-132-17)

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   17-P-50                                         Appeals Court   ADOPTION OF TALIK.[1]     No. 17-P-50.   Suffolk.     July 28, 2017. – October 4, 2017.   Present:  Green, Ditkoff, & Wendlandt, JJ.     Adoption, Care and protection, Dispensing with parent’s consent.  Parent and Child, Dispensing with parent’s consent to adoption.  Minor, Care and protection.  Practice, Civil, Care and protection proceeding.  Evidence, Inference.       Petition filed in the Suffolk County Division of the Juvenile Court Department on March 6, 2013.   The case was heard by Peter M. Coyne, J.     Dennis M. Toomey for the mother. Bryan F. Bertram, Assistant Attorney General, for Department of Children and Families. Deborah J. Bero for the child.     WENDLANDT, J.  The mother appeals from a decree issued by a judge of the Juvenile Court finding her unfit to parent her son, Talik, terminating her parental rights, placing the child in the care of the Department of Children and Families (DCF), and approving DCF’s plan for adoption of the child by his foster parents.[2]  The mother argues that (1) the judge impermissibly drew an adverse inference from her failure to attend the trial; (2) the evidence of her unfitness was stale and thus could not support a finding of her unfitness by clear and convincing evidence; and (3) the pretrial placement of the child with the foster parents instead of with the child’s maternal grandmother’s first cousin (relative) in California was an abuse of discretion.  We conclude that the judge did not err in drawing a negative inference from the mother’s absence and finding that the mother was unfit, and that there was no abuse of discretion in the child’s pretrial placement.  Accordingly, we affirm. Background.  We draw on the detailed findings of fact made by the judge, which find ample support in the record.  The child was born in March, 2013, and his meconium tested positive for marijuana.  The mother tested positive for OxyContin, cocaine, and opiates.  The child was admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit due to high blood sugar levels (attributed to the mother’s mismanagement of her diabetes during the pregnancy), a possible heart murmur, and concerns regarding his liver.  During the pregnancy, the mother tested positive for marijuana at her first prenatal appointment, which occurred just over two months before the child was born.  She refused toxicology screens for the remainder of her […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - October 4, 2017 at 3:29 pm

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Adoption of Ilian (Lawyers Weekly No. 11-083-17)

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   16-P-1517                                       Appeals Court   ADOPTION OF ILIAN.[1]     No. 16-P-1517.   Bristol.     May 3, 2017. – June 28, 2017.   Present:  Kinder, Henry, & Desmond, JJ.     Adoption, Dispensing with parent’s consent.  Minor, Adoption.  Parent and Child, Dispensing with parent’s consent to adoption.  Practice, Civil, Findings by judge.  Department of Children & Families.       Petition filed in the Bristol County Division of the Juvenile Court Department on August 23, 2013.   The case was heard by Siobhan E. Foley, J.     Matthew P. Landry, Assistant Attorney General, for the Department of Children and Families. Abigail H. Salois, Committee for Public Counsel Services, for the father. Diane Messere Magee for the child.     KINDER, J.  Following trial, a Juvenile Court judge found that Ilian’s parents were unfit to parent him and that termination of their parental rights was in Ilian’s best interests, and she accordingly issued decrees terminating their parental rights.  See G. L. c. 119, § 26; G. L. c. 210, § 3.  The judge approved a plan put forward by the Department of Children and Families (DCF) for Ilian’s adoption by the foster family with whom he had been living for eighteen months.  On appeal, the father claims error in the termination of his parental rights in light of his plan for a paternal cousin (cousin) to serve as Ilian’s caregiver.  The father contends that the judge failed to conduct an “even-handed assessment” of the two plans.  We agree that the judge’s assessment of the father’s plan should have been more explicit.  More detailed findings regarding the cousin’s credibility as a witness and suitability as a caregiver would have clearly demonstrated the required even-handed assessment.  Nevertheless, for the reasons that follow, we conclude that the judge adequately considered the father’s alternative plan and properly concluded such placement was not in Ilian’s best interests.[2]  Accordingly, we affirm. Background.  We summarize the relevant facts, which have ample support in the record.  Ilian was born in May, 2011, and was almost five years old at the close of the trial.  DCF’s first involvement with Ilian’s family was in September, 2012, when DCF received a report pursuant to G. L. c. 119, § 51A (51A report), for neglect, alleging that Ilian was present when the father shot a sixteen year old boy.  Ultimately, DCF’s investigation did not support the claim that Ilian was present at […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - June 28, 2017 at 4:54 pm

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Adoption of Bianca (Lawyers Weekly No. 11-050-17)

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 th9e 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   16-P-764                                   Appeals Court   ADOPTION OF BIANCA.[1]     No. 16-P-764.   Middlesex.     February 10, 2017. – April 28, 2017.   Present:  Milkey, Hanlon, & Neyman, JJ.     Adoption, Dispensing with parent’s consent, Visitation rights. Parent and Child, Dispensing with parent’s consent to adoption, Adoption. Minor, Adoption, Visitation rights. Evidence, Child custody proceeding.     Petition filed in the Middlesex County Division of the Juvenile Court Department on March 10, 2011.   The case was heard by Kenneth J. King, J.     Deborah Sirotkin Butler for the mother. Ilse Nehring for the father. William T. Cuttle for Department of Children and Families. Yvette L. Kruger for the child.   MILKEY, J.  This case involves the welfare of a child to whom we shall refer as Bianca.  After trial, a Juvenile Court judge found the child’s mother and father unfit, and issued decrees terminating their parental rights.  See G. L. c. 119, § 26; G. L. c. 210, § 3.  The judge approved a plan put forward by the Department of Children and Families (DCF) for Bianca to be adopted by a couple who were close friends of the father’s family and who have cared for Bianca for much of her life.[2]  Finally, the judge ordered regular postadoption contact with both parents, but permitted the preadoptive parents to terminate visitation with the mother or father if they determined it was no longer in Bianca’s best interests. On appeal, the mother and father contest the termination of their parental rights.  The father also challenges the approval of the DCF adoption plan over his plan that the preadoptive parents be made Bianca’s guardians so that he could seek custody in the future.  The mother requests that the case be remanded to determine whether she remains unfit and to determine Bianca’s current best interests.  We affirm. Background.[3]  As a result of the father’s abuse of the mother, Bianca’s life has been fraught with instability and exposure to violence.  In addition, the mother has long struggled with substance abuse, and due to incarceration or treatment, she was frequently unavailable to care for Bianca.  Little would be served by providing further detail of the mother’s history, particularly because she does not contest that she was unfit at the time of trial. The father physically abused the mother throughout their marriage, including during the mother’s pregnancy with Bianca, who was born in […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - May 1, 2017 at 5:08 pm

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Adoption of Uday (Lawyers Weekly No. 11-011-17)

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   16-P-801                                        Appeals Court   ADOPTION OF UDAY.[1]     No. 16-P-801.   Middlesex.     January 5, 2017. – February 16, 2017.   Present:  Carhart, Massing, & Lemire, JJ.     Adoption, Dispensing with parent’s consent.  Minor, Adoption.  Parent and Child, Adoption, Dispensing with parent’s consent to adoption.  Indian Child Welfare Act.  Practice, Civil, Adoption, Assistance of counsel.       Petition filed in the Middlesex County Division of the Juvenile Court Department on May 9, 2013.   The case was heard by Kenneth J. King, J.     Daniel R. Katz for the father. Kari B. Kipf Horstmann for Department of Children and Families. Amy S. DiDonna for the child.     MASSING, J.  The father appeals from a decree terminating his parental rights with respect to his son, Uday.[2]  He argues that the Department of Children and Families (department) did not comply with the notice requirements of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), 25 U.S.C. § 1912(a) (2012), that the department’s failure to make reasonable efforts to reunite him with the child vitiates the judge’s finding of parental unfitness, and that the finding of unfitness is unsupported in any event.  We affirm. ICWA notice.  The father contends that despite the department’s knowledge of Uday’s possible Cherokee ancestry, it failed to “notify the . . . Indian child’s tribe . . . of the pending [termination] proceedings.”  25 U.S.C. § 1912(a).  He also claims that his attorney was ineffective for failing to assert an ICWA claim during the proceedings in the Juvenile Court. We permitted the department to file a supplemental record appendix in which the department submitted letters from the three federally recognized Cherokee tribes — the Cherokee Nation, the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma, and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians — all to the effect that Uday does not qualify as an “Indian child” under 25 U.S.C. § 1903(4) (2012).[3]  See Indian Entities Recognized and Eligible To Receive Services from the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs, 78 Fed. Reg. 26,384, 26,385, 26,388 (2013) (listing tribal entities recognized as “Indian tribes” under 25 U.S.C. § 1903[4] and which must be notified of involuntary custody proceedings in which Indian child is involved).  These responsive letters from the three Cherokee tribes demonstrate that the department in fact did comply with ICWA notice provision. While any ICWA claim the father or child may have had fails in […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - February 16, 2017 at 6:33 pm

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Adoption of Yadira (and two companion cases) (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-030-17)

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-12113   ADOPTION OF YADIRA (and two companion cases).[1]       Suffolk.     November 7, 2016. – February 14, 2017.   Present:  Gants, C.J., Botsford, Lenk, Hines, Gaziano, Lowy, & Budd, JJ.     Adoption, Dispensing with parent’s consent.  Minor, Adoption.  Parent and Child, Adoption, Dispensing with parent’s consent to adoption.  Regulation.  Practice, Civil, Adoption, Report.       Petitions filed in the Suffolk Division of the Probate and Family Court Department on March 20, 2014.   A motion to deny the petitions was heard by Virginia M. Ward, J.   The Supreme Judicial Court granted an application for direct appellate review.     Jeanne M. Kaiser for the mother. Brian Pariser for Department of Children and Families. Nena S. Negron for Yadira & others. Michael F. Kilkelly, for the father, was present but did not argue.          BUDD, J.  We granted an application for direct appellate review in this case to determine whether the Code of Federal Regulations, 45 C.F.R. § 400.115(c) (1998), allows the Department of Children and Families (department) to petition for termination of parental rights on behalf of unaccompanied refugee minors whose parents also are present in the United States.  We hold that the regulations do allow such petitions. Background.  In December, 2010, four minor siblings arrived in Massachusetts from a Nepalese refugee camp through the Federal Unaccompanied Refugee Minors Program (minor refugee program).  See Custody of Victoria, 473 Mass. 64, 65 n.1 (2015).  The department placed two of the children in a foster home in Fitchburg and the other two in a foster home in Ashby.[2]  No later than April, 2013, the children’s mother and father had entered the United States and settled in North Dakota and Ohio, respectively.  Since coming to the United States, both the mother and the father have had “very limited contact” with the children. In March, 2014, the department petitioned the Probate and Family Court to free the children for adoption by terminating parental rights pursuant to G. L. c. 210, § 3.[3]  The mother moved to deny the department’s petition.  The judge denied the mother’s motion and subsequently reported the matter to the Appeals Court.  In her report, the judge framed the following question for the court’s consideration: “Is it permissible under the Code of Federal Regulations for the [department] to proceed to seek a termination of parental […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - February 14, 2017 at 11:37 pm

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Adoption of Zak (and two companion cases) (Lawyers Weekly No. 11-004-17)

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   16-P-393                                        Appeals Court   ADOPTION OF ZAK (and two companion cases).[1]     No. 16-P-393.   Norfolk.     October 7, 2016. – January 9, 2017.   Present:  Hanlon, Sullivan, & Blake, JJ.     Adoption, Visitation rights, Standing.  Parent and Child, Adoption.  Minor, Adoption, Visitation rights.  Practice, Civil, Adoption, Standing.     Petitions filed in the Norfolk County Division of the Juvenile Court Department on May 19, 2010, and September 9, 2011.   Following review by this court, 87 Mass. App. Ct. 540 (2015), the cases were heard by Dana Gershengorn, J.     Julia A. B. Pearson for the mother. Sherrie Krasner for the father. Kari B. Kipf Horstmann for Department of Children and Families. Steven B. Rosenthal for Zak. Yvette L. Kruger for Carol & another.     SULLIVAN, J.  In this case we consider whether a mother and father, whose parental rights have been terminated, have standing to participate in a hearing on posttermination visitation under the following circumstances.  Termination of parental rights and posttermination visitation were originally litigated in a single trial.  The termination of parental rights was affirmed on appeal, but the matter was remanded to the Juvenile Court on the question of posttermination visitation.  The parents were not notified of the remand hearing and did not participate.  Following the entry of an “amended order for posttermination/adoption visitation” (posttermination visitation order), the parents appealed again to this court.  We now conclude that the remand hearing was a continuation of the original proceeding, and that the parents had standing to participate in the remand hearing.  Accordingly, we vacate the posttermination visitation order and remand for further proceedings. Background.  In Adoption of Zak, 87 Mass. App. Ct. 540 (2015) (Zak I), we affirmed the entry of decrees by a judge of the Juvenile Court terminating parental rights and dispensing with consent to adoption, but remanded on the question of posttermination visitation.  Although the judge had considered the effect of domestic violence on the question of termination of parental rights, her order on the visitation issue was silent as to the impact of domestic violence on the question of posttermination visitation.[2]  We remanded the case for further findings and rulings in order to permit the judge to consider that issue.  We also noted the authority of the judge to consider whether circumstances had changed since the issuance of the original […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - January 9, 2017 at 6:14 pm

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Adoption of Anisha (Lawyers Weekly No. 11-096-16)

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   15-P-1611                                       Appeals Court   ADOPTION OF ANISHA.[1]     No. 15-P-1611.   Suffolk.     May 12, 2016. – August 5, 2016.   Present:  Kafker, C.J., Cohen, & Green, JJ.     Massachusetts Child Custody Jurisdiction Act.  Jurisdiction, Care and protection of minor, Custody of child, Juvenile Court.  Juvenile Court, Jurisdiction.  Parent and Child, Care and protection of minor, Custody.  Minor, Care and protection, Custody.     Petition filed in the Suffolk County Division of the Juvenile Court Department on December 18, 2013.   The case was heard by Stephen M. Limon, J.     Sherrie Krasner for the mother. Ashley M. Green for the child. Kerry David Strayer, Assistant Attorney General, for Department of Children and Families.     KAFKER, C.J.  The primary issue presented in this appeal is whether a judge of the Juvenile Court properly exercised jurisdiction over a care and protection petition regarding an infant where the mother, who had previously lost custody of six older children, secreted the child out of the Commonwealth and then the United States to avoid oversight by the Department of Children and Families (DCF).  We conclude that the judge properly denied the mother’s motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction while he further explored the issue of which State — Tennessee or Massachusetts — had jurisdiction, and that he correctly exercised jurisdiction pursuant to G. L. c. 209B, § 2(a)(4), once Tennessee declined jurisdiction.  We also conclude that there was overwhelming evidence to support the judge’s determination that the mother was unfit to parent the child, and we therefore affirm the decree terminating the mother’s parental rights.[2]  See G. L. c. 119, § 26; G. L. c. 210, § 3. Background.  We recite the procedural history and the relevant facts as found by the judge, reserving additional facts for our discussion of the legal issues. Child’s birth and DCF’s response to G. L. c. 119, § 51A, report.  The mother was returning to Massachusetts from her father’s funeral in Maine when she went into labor.  She gave birth to the child at a hospital in New Hampshire in November, 2013.  The judge found that the child was the “[m]other’s eighth child and . . . none of the older seven [were] in her care and custody following the untimely death of one and the removal of the other six older children by [DCF].”  After the child’s birth, the mother completed a form with information from […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - August 5, 2016 at 3:14 pm

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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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Adoption of Eden (and two companion cases) (Lawyers Weekly No. 11-139-15)

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   14-P-220                                        Appeals Court   ADOPTION OF EDEN (and two companion cases[1]). No. 14-P-220. Worcester.     October 2, 2014. – September 11, 2015.   Present:  Green, Rubin, & Agnes, JJ. Minor, Care and protection.  Parent and Child, Care and protection of minor.  Practice, Civil, Care and protection proceeding.  Child Abuse.       Petition filed in the Worcester Division of the Juvenile Court Department on January 4, 2011.   Following review by this court, 87 Mass. App. Ct. 1109 (2015), the case was heard by Anthony J. Marotta, J.     Tamar M. Gureghian for the mother. S. Michael Fournier for the father. Roy Vincent Montoya for Department of Children and Families. Christine M. Durkin for the children.   RUBIN, J.  This case involves the proper role of allegations in decisions involving the termination of parental rights, and the proper role of the appellate courts in reviewing those decisions.  Both the mother and the father appealed in this case from decrees terminating their parental rights to their three minor children, Eden, Sam, and Mark.  We affirmed the decrees with respect to the mother, but remanded the father’s case to the Juvenile Court judge for clarification of the basis of his decision with respect to the father.  See Adoption of Eden, 87 Mass. App. Ct. 1109 (2015).  The judge issued supplemental findings of fact and conclusions of law, and we now affirm. 1.  Background.  There was never any doubt in this case that the evidence was sufficient to support the termination of the father’s parental rights.  See Adoption of Peggy, 436 Mass. 690, 701 (2002) (“Before a judge may award permanent custody of the child to the department, the judge must find, by clear and convincing evidence, that the natural parent is unfit to further the welfare and best interests of the child”).  In his original findings of fact and conclusions of law, the judge documented many specific instances of behavior that either harmed the children or placed the children at a great risk of harm.  Among other things, the judge found, and it is not contested, that Eden, the oldest child, was left at home when she was five years old to babysit the then one year old middle child, Sam, who has sickle cell anemia.  After the Department of Children and Families (department) obtained custody of the children, parental visits with the […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - September 12, 2015 at 1:50 am

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