IN RE: Custody

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

IN RE: Custody, etc., LOUIS JAYBEE J., A Child Under the Age of Eighteen Years, etc., Julia J., Respondent-Appellant, St. Vincent's Services, Inc., et al., Petitioners-Respondents.

Decided: May 28, 2002

NARDELLI, J.P., SAXE, ELLERIN, WALLACH and LERNER, JJ. Amy Hausknecht, Respondent-Appellant. Dennis Houdek, David A. Lore, Petitioners-Respondents.

Order of disposition, Family Court, Bronx County (Ruth Zuckerman, J.), entered on or about April 16, 1999, terminating respondent's parental rights to the subject child upon a finding of permanent neglect, and committing the child's custody and guardianship to petitioner agency and the Commissioner of Social Services for the purposes of adoption, unanimously affirmed, without costs.

The finding of permanent neglect is supported by clear and convincing evidence that respondent failed to complete any of the numerous drug treatment programs to which she was referred by petitioner, and, indeed, continued to use drugs during the entire course of the proceeding (see, Matter of Natajha Starr M., 204 A.D.2d 232, 612 N.Y.S.2d 413, lv. denied 84 N.Y.2d 806, 621 N.Y.S.2d 515, 645 N.E.2d 1215;  Matter of Gina I., 270 A.D.2d 21, 703 N.Y.S.2d 187, lv. denied 95 N.Y.2d 756, 712 N.Y.S.2d 448, 734 N.E.2d 760).   The finding that it is in the child's best interests to be adopted by his foster mother is supported by a preponderance of the evidence, including respondent's inability to overcome her drug addiction and a caseworker's testimony describing the positive environment of the foster mother's home, where the now eight-year old child has continuously lived virtually since birth (see, Matter of Natajha Starr M., id.;  Matter of Gina I., id.).