In re Pazaria M.

Decision Date21 June 2011
Docket NumberNo. B–09963–10.,B–09963–10.
PartiesIn the Matters of PAZARIA M., Winter M., Latonia W., Neighya W., Cecilia A.M. Children under the Age of Eighteen Years Alleged to be Permanently Neglected by Antoinette M., Respondent.
CourtNew York Family Court

37 Misc.3d 1218
964 N.Y.S.2d 61
2011 N.Y. Slip Op. 52535

In the Matters of PAZARIA M., Winter M., Latonia W., Neighya W., Cecilia A.M. Children under the Age of Eighteen Years Alleged to be Permanently Neglected by Antoinette M., Respondent.

No. B–09963–10.

Family Court, Monroe County, New York.

June 21, 2011.


Patricia A. Woehrlen, Esq., for Petitioner.

Kevin Khuns, Esq., for Respondent.


Kathy Perrault, Esq., for the Children.

DANDREA L. RUHLMANN, J.

Monroe County Department of Human Services (Petitioner) filed petitions on August 11, 2010 seeking termination of Respondent Antoinette M.'s parental rights alleging that she permanently neglected her daughters Pazaria (dob:—/—/—); Winter (dob:—/—/—); Latonia (dob:—/—/—); Neighya (—/—/—); and Cecilia (dob:—/—/—). Petitioner also moves for a neglect finding against Respondent regarding Cecilia alleging a violation of the Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal Order. The Court finds by clear and convincing evidence that Respondent permanently neglected all five girls. The Court also finds a violation of the underlying Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal concerning Cecilia and enters a finding of neglect. On consent of the parties the Court also held a combined dispositional and post-termination hearing pursuant to Matter of Kahlil S. (60 AD3d 1450 [4th Dept 2009] ). Respondent's parental rights to her daughters are hereby terminated. Pazaria and Winter's guardianship and custody are committed to Petitioner for the purpose of adoption (Family Court Act § § 631[c]; 634). Latonia, Neighya and Cecilia shall remain placed with Petitioner pending resolution of the termination action against their biological father Anthony W. who also filed for their custody and visitation. The Court orders post-termination contact between all five girls and Respondent at a minimum of twice annually and such further contact as can be mutually arranged by foster mother Claudette L. and Respondent.

Permanently neglected children are children “who [are] in the care of an authorized agency and whose parent or custodian has failed for a period of more than one year ... substantially and continuously or repeatedly to maintain contact with or plan for the future of the child[ren] ... notwithstanding the agency's diligent efforts to encourage and strengthen the parental relationship when such efforts will not be detrimental to the best interests of the child [ren]” (Social Services Law § 384–b [7][a] ). To prove permanent neglect, Petitioner must establish by clear and convincing evidence that (1) it made diligent efforts to encourage or strengthen Respondent's relationship with her child but despite such efforts Respondent substantially and continuously or repeatedly (2) failed to plan for the future of her children or (3) failed to maintain contact with her children for a period of one year ( see Matter of Star Leslie W., 63 N.Y.2d 136, 142–143 [1984];Social Services Law § 384–b [7][a] ).

The Court heard testimony from Petitioner's witnesses: Caseworkers Ann Marie S. and Janette M. and foster mother Claudette L. and finds them believable and credible. The Court also received certain documentary evidence including certified copies of orders. Respondent failed to testify at the fact-finding hearing but did testify on her own behalf at the dispositional hearing.

Petitioner provided “services and other assistance aimed at ameliorating or resolving the problems preventing the children's return to [Respondent]'s care” (Matter of Dakota S., 43 AD3d 1414 [4th Dept 2007] quoting Matter of Kayte M., 201 A.D.2d 835, 835 [3d Dept 1994], lv denied83 N.Y.2d 757 [1994] ). The New York State Court of Appeals has defined...

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