Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Second Department, New York.
IN RE: QUAIZA S.P. (Anonymous). Westchester County Department of Social Services, Respondent; v. Sean S. (Anonymous), Appellant. (Proceeding No. 1)
IN RE: Disneey C. (Anonymous). Westchester County Department of Social Services, Respondent; v. Sean S. (Anonymous), Appellant. (Proceeding No. 2)
Decided: January 16, 2019
JOHN M. LEVENTHAL, J.P., LEONARD B. AUSTIN, COLLEEN D. DUFFY, ANGELA G. IANNACCI, JJ.
John R. Lewis, Sleepy Hollow, NY, for appellant. John M. Nonna, County Attorney, White Plains, N.Y. (Stacey Dolgin–Kmetz and Allison E. Burke of counsel), for respondent. Maria J. Frank, Yorktown Heights, NY, attorney for the children.
DECISION & ORDER
ORDERED that the order of fact-finding and disposition is affirmed, without costs or disbursements.
The petitioner, Westchester County Department of Social Services (hereinafter the agency), commenced these proceedings to terminate the father's parental rights. After a fact-finding hearing, the Family Court found that the father is presently and for the foreseeable future unable, by reason of mental illness, to care for the children. The father's parental rights were terminated, and the father appeals.
Contrary to the father's contentions, the agency established by clear and convincing evidence that he is unable to properly and adequately care for his children, now and in the foreseeable future, by reason of mental illness (see Social Services Law § 384–b[g]; Social Services Law § 384–b[c]; Matter of Abigail M.-W. [Yaiesha M.], 163 A.D.3d 672, 673, 76 N.Y.S.3d 848; Matter of Divinity I.H. [George T.J.], 133 A.D.3d 601, 19 N.Y.S.3d 312). The agency presented the uncontroverted testimony of a court-appointed psychiatrist who, after interviewing the father and reviewing his extensive hospitalization records, diagnosed him with “a serious and chronic psychiatric illness that likely is Schizoaffective Disorder, a disorder that includes psychotic symptoms of hallucinations, delusions or both, along with periods of depression.” The expert also testified to the father's multiple hospitalizations, all occurring within the previous three years, related to his depression and suicidal/homicidal ideation, as well as his history of medical noncompliance, his circular and illogical thinking, his impaired judgment and lack of insight into his condition, and his inability to care for himself. The expert opined, unequivocally, that the father is unable to parent his children at this time, and in the foreseeable future, because he must focus on keeping himself well and stable first and foremost. Furthermore, the father's claims of sustained medical compliance are belied by his medical records.
Accordingly, we agree with the Family Court's determination that the agency established by clear and convincing evidence that the father is presently and for the foreseeable future unable, by reason of mental illness, to care for his two children (see Matter of Eliyah I.M. [Angel C.M.], 154 A.D.3d 696, 697, 61 N.Y.S.3d 650; Matter of Bruce P., 138 A.D.3d 864, 866, 29 N.Y.S.3d 536; Matter of Alexander James R., 48 A.D.3d 820, 853 N.Y.S.2d 136).
LEVENTHAL, J.P., AUSTIN, DUFFY and IANNACCI, JJ., concur.
Was this helpful?
Response sent, thank you
Welcome to FindLaw's Cases & Codes
A free source of state and federal court opinions, state laws, and the United States Code. For more information about the legal concepts addressed by these cases and statutes visit FindLaw's Learn About the Law.