IN RE: BROOKE LYNNE C.

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

IN RE: BROOKE LYNNE C., A Dependent Child Under the Age of Eighteen Years, etc., Maria C., Respondent-Appellant, The New York Foundling Hospital, as Successor Agency to Lakeside Family and Children's Services, Petitioner-Respondent.

Decided: May 24, 2007

SAXE, J.P., NARDELLI, BUCKLEY, SWEENY, MALONE, JJ. Randall S. Carmel, Syosset, for appellant. Law Office of Jeremiah Quinlan, Hastings-on-Hudson (Daniel Gartenstein of counsel), for respondent. Tamara A. Steckler, The Legal Aid Society, New York (Claire V. Merkine of counsel), Law Guardian.

Order of disposition, Family Court, Bronx County (Sidney Gribetz, J.), entered on or about March 14, 2006, which, upon a finding of abandonment, terminated respondent mother's parental rights respecting the subject child and committed custody and guardianship of the child to petitioner agency and the Commissioner of Social Services of the City of New York for the purpose of adoption, unanimously affirmed, without costs.

 Clear and convincing evidence that respondent mother failed to visit or communicate with the child or contact the agency for a period of six months prior to the filing of the petition raised a presumption of abandonment, which respondent failed to rebut (see Social Services Law § 384-b[4][b], [5] [a];  Matter of Stefanie Judith N., 27 A.D.3d 403, 811 N.Y.S.2d 658 [2006] ).   Contrary to respondent's appellate arguments, a showing of diligent efforts to encourage respondent's parental relationship with the child was not essential to petitioner's prima facie case (see Social Services Law § 384-b [5][b];  Matter of Raheem Q., 287 A.D.2d 274, 730 N.Y.S.2d 855 [2001] );  rather, once petitioner demonstrated abandonment, it was respondent's burden to show that there were circumstances rendering contact with the child or agency infeasible, or to show that the agency discouraged her from contacting the child (see Matter of Stefanie Judith N., 27 A.D.3d at 403, 811 N.Y.S.2d 658).   Respondent, however, did not meet that burden.   The court properly concluded that it was in the child's best interests to terminate respondent's parental rights so as to facilitate the child's adoption.