In re Khalil H.

Decision Date22 December 2015
Docket NumberF04CP12009617A
CourtConnecticut Superior Court
PartiesIn re Khalil H. [1]

UNPUBLISHED OPINION

MEMORANDUM OF DECISION

Burton A. Kaplan, Senior Judge of the Superior Court.

On August 23, 2013, the petitioner, the Commissioner of the Department of Children and Families, (DCF), filed a petition pursuant to C.G.S. Section 17a-112 et seq. to terminate the parental rights of Sheena R., the biological mother, and Maurice H., the biological father, to their child, Khalil H born July 31, 2012. On December 10, 2013, DCF filed a motion to amend the TPR petition and add an additional ground, E with regard to the respondent mother. That motion was granted on December 10, 2013. On May 27, 2015, DCF filed a motion to amend the TPR petition and add an additional ground, C, with regard to the respondent father. That motion was granted on May 28, 2015.

Both of the respondent parents have appeared and are each represented by counsel. Neither parent claims Indian Tribal affiliation. The court is aware of no other proceedings pending in any other court regarding the custody of this child. The court has jurisdiction. The trial on the Termination of Parental Rights was held before this court on June 18, 2015, June 22 2015, and originally concluded on July 1, 2015.

Thereafter the Supreme Court issued its decision In Re Yasiel R. On August 18, 2015, this court reopened the case and advised the respondent mother and respondent father of their rights in a TPR trial pursuant to In Re Yasiel R., 317 Conn. 773, 120 A.3d 1188 (2015).

Both parties and their counsel were present in court on August 18, 2015. The respondent mother indicated at that time that she may wish to call additional witnesses or reexamine witnesses that had already testified. This court continued the matter until August 24th, 2015, so the respondent mother and respondent father could confer with their attorneys and file new trial management orders. An additional trial date was scheduled for September 22nd, 2015, if additional testimony is necessary.

On August 24th, 2015, the respondent mother's attorney filed a Trial Management Order indicating no additional testimony was requested.

On August 25, 2015, respondent father's attorney filed a Trial Management Order indicating no addition testimony was requested.

Based on the above, the court removed the additional trial date of September 22nd, 2015, and considered this matter concluded as of August 25, 2015.

The statutory grounds alleged against the respondent mother, Sheena R., in the petition and in the amendment are as follows:

B(i). The child or youth has been found in a prior proceeding to have been neglected, uncared for, or abused, and the respondent mother has failed to achieve the degree of personal rehabilitation that would encourage the belief that within a reasonable time, considering the age and needs of the child or youth, she could assume a responsible position in the life of the child or youth.

E. The mother of the child, under the age of seven years who was neglected, uncared for, or abused, has failed, is unable, or is unwilling to achieve such degree of personal rehabilitation as would encourage the belief that within a reasonable period of time, considering the age and needs of the child, such parent could assume a responsible position in the life of the child and such parent's parental rights of another child were previously terminated in accordance with the petition filed by the Commissioner of the Department of Children and Families.

The statutory grounds alleged against the respondent father, Maurice H., in the petition and in the amendment are as follows:

C. The child or youth has been denied, by reason of an act or acts of commission or omission, including but not limited to, sexual molestation or exploitation, severe physical abuse or a pattern of abuse, by the father, the care, guidance, or control necessary for his physical, educational, moral, or emotional well-being.

D. There is no ongoing parent-child or parent-youth relationship with respect to the father that ordinarily develops as a result of the parents having met on a day-to-day basis, the physical, emotional, moral, and educational needs of the child or youth, and to allow further time for the establishment or reestablishment of the parent-child or parent-youth relationship would be detrimental to the best interest of the child or youth.

E. The father of the child, under the age of seven years who was neglected, uncared for or abused, has failed, is unable, or is unwilling to achieve such degree of personal rehabilitation as would encourage the belief that within a reasonable period of time, considering the age and needs of the child, such parent could assume a responsible position in the life of the child and such parent's parental rights of another child were previously terminated in accordance with the petition filed by the Commissioner of the Department of Children and Families.

FACTS & FINDINGS

During the course of this trial the court heard testimony from the following: representatives and/or clinicians from Liberation House, Southwest Community Health Center, (SCHC), Crossroads Wellmore Women's and Children's Program, Dr. Derek Franklin, the DCF social worker, and Sheena R., the respondent mother. The respondent father, Maurice H. did not testify.

The Court has reviewed and considered the following full exhibits: A. Social Study dated 8/19/13; B. Social Study addendum dated 1/5/15; C. Paternity test results for Maurice H. dated 9/20/12; D. Mother's specific steps dated 8/17/12; E. Father's specific steps dated 10/10/12; F. Mother's prior TPR order dated 10/1/13; F. Father's prior TPR orders dated 5/8/12; H. Certified copy of father's judgment mittimus; I. Mother's Crossroads records; J. Mother's Wellmore records; L. Mother's Liberation records; M. Dr. Franklin's 2013 evaluation; N. Dr. Franklin's evaluation 2015; O. DCF narrative/correspondence; P. Mother's Southwest referrals; Q. Emails between mother & DCF (Part 2); S. Father's certified conviction record; T. Mother's certified conviction record; U. Mother's hair test analysis; and V. Mother's Hospital Records.

The court finds by clear and convincing evidence the following facts. The child, Khalil H., was adjudicated neglected on October 10, 2012, in this court. On the same date, he was committed to the care and custody of the DCF until further order of the court. Khalil was placed in foster care and has remained with the same family since he was discharged from the hospital after birth.

At the Child Protection Session in Middletown on May 8, 2012, the respondent father, Maurice H., had his parental rights terminated with regard to his children, Dahlona H., DOB May 16, 2003, and Deivine H., DOB November 15, 2004.

At the Child Protection Session in Middletown on October 1, 2013, the respondent mother, Sheena R., had her parental rights terminated with regard to her son, Ny'el R., DOB March 3, 2011.

The court finds the following by clear and convincing evidence. Khalil H. was born on July 31, 2012. On August 1, 2012, a social worker from St. Vincent Medical Center referred this case to the Centralized DCF Careline. The hospital reported that Sheena R. gave birth to a baby boy, Khalil, and he tested positive for opiates and weighted 4 lbs. 15 oz. Khalil was suffering from withdrawal and stayed in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit.

On August 8, 2012, a motion for order of temporary custody and a neglect petition was filed by the DCF with regard to Khalil H. The court granted the OTC. Khalil H. was later adjudicated neglected and committed to the care and custody of DCF on October 10, 2012. Thereafter, on June 18, 2013, April 22, 2014, and February 24, 2015, the court approved permanency plans of TPR and adoption. On August 23, 2013, the DCF filed petitions for termination of parental rights. On December 10, 2013, DCF filed a motion to amend the TPR petition and add an additional ground, E, with regard to the respondent mother. That motion was granted on December 10, 2013. On May 27, 2015, DCF filed a motion to amend the TPR petition and add an additional ground, C, with regard to the respondent father. That motion was granted on May 28, 2015. The respondent mother signed specific steps on August 17, 2012, and the respondent father signed specific steps dated October 10, 2012.

The trial of this matter commenced on June 18, 2015. The Court heard the testimony from a representative from Liberation and Southwest Community Health Center. On June 22, 2015, the court heard testimony of Dr. Franklin and a counselor from Liberation. On July 1, 2015, the court heard testimony from representatives of Southwest, Crossroads, Wellmore, and the DCF social worker. At that point, the State rested. The respondent mother, Sheena R., then testified. Final arguments were then heard. Thereafter, the Supreme Court issued its decision In Re Yasiel R. On August 18, 2015, this court reopened the case and advised the respondent mother and respondent father of their rights in a TPR trial pursuant to In Re Yasiel R.

Both parties and their counsel were present in court on August 18, 2015. The mother indicated, at that time, that she may wish to call additional witnesses or reexamine witnesses that had already testified. This court continued the matter until August 24th, 2015, so the respondent mother and respondent father could confer with their attorneys and file new trial management orders. An additional trial date was scheduled for September 22nd, 2015, if additional testimony is necessary.

On August 24th, 2015, the respondent mother's attorney filed a Trial Management Order indicating no additional...

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