IN RE: Custody

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Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department, New York.

IN RE: Custody, etc., QUARTISHA McF., et al., Dependent Children Under the Age of Eighteen Years, etc., Brenda McF., Respondent-Appellant, Christian O., Respondent, The Children's Aid Society, Petitioner-Respondent.

Decided: February 05, 1998

Before MILONAS, J.P., and ROSENBERGER, ELLERIN and TOM, JJ. Patricia Nevergold, for Quartisha McF. Joseph V. Moliterno, for Respondent-Appellant. Douglas H. Reiniger, for Petitioner-Respondent.

Order of disposition, Family Court, Bronx County (Bruce Kaplan, J.), entered on or about June 25, 1996, which, insofar as appealed from, upon a fact-finding determination of permanent neglect, terminated respondent's parental rights and committed custody and guardianship of the subject children to petitioner agency and the Commissioner of Social Services for the purpose of adoption, unanimously affirmed, without costs.

 We defer to Family Court's finding, which turned largely on its assessment of witness credibility, that petitioner failed for a period of six months to keep the agency apprised of her location (see, Matter of Irene O., 38 N.Y.2d 776, 777, 381 N.Y.S.2d 865, 345 N.E.2d 337), and to the court's resulting conclusion that the agency was excused from having to show diligent efforts to encourage and strengthen the parental relationship (Social Services Law § 384-b[7][e][i];  see, Matter of Trudya J., 223 A.D.2d 470, 637 N.Y.S.2d 43, lv. denied 87 N.Y.2d 812, 644 N.Y.S.2d 145, 666 N.E.2d 1059).   Respondent's argument that the agency was not excused from making diligent efforts because it could have discovered her whereabouts had it made inquiry about her of the children's foster mother, who is respondent's sister, is without merit (see, Matter of O. Children, 128 A.D.2d 460, 465, 513 N.Y.S.2d 153;  but cf., Matter of Sheila G., 61 N.Y.2d 368, 383, n. 5, 474 N.Y.S.2d 421, 462 N.E.2d 1139).   We agree with the Family Court that the children's best interests are served by freeing her for adoption.


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