IN RE: KEMARI W.

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Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Fourth Department.

IN RE: KEMARI W., JAMARI W., AND

CAF 15–01928

Decided: September 29, 2017

PRESENT:  CENTRA, J.P., PERADOTTO, NEMOYER, TROUTMAN, AND WINSLOW, JJ. D.J. & J.A. CIRANDO, ESQS., SYRACUSE (ELIZABETH deV. MOELLER OF COUNSEL), FOR RESPONDENT–APPELLANT. ADAM H. VANBUSKIRK, AUBURN, FOR PETITIONER–RESPONDENT.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

It is hereby ORDERED that the order so appealed from is unanimously affirmed without costs.

Memorandum:  In this permanent neglect proceeding pursuant to Family Court Act article 6 and Social Services Law § 384–b, respondent mother appeals from an order that terminated her parental rights with respect to the subject children.  The mother contends that petitioner failed to establish that it had exercised diligent efforts to encourage and strengthen her parental relationship with the children, as required by Social Services Law § 384–b (7)(a).  We reject that contention.  “Diligent efforts include reasonable attempts at providing counseling, scheduling regular visitation with the child [ren], providing services to the parent[ ] to overcome problems that prevent the discharge of the child[ren] into [his or her] care, and informing the parent[ ] of [the children's] progress” (Matter of Jessica Lynn W., 244 A.D.2d 900, 900–901;  see § 384–b [7][f];  Matter of Star Leslie W., 63 N.Y.2d 136, 142).  Here, in addition to other efforts, petitioner “arranged for a psychological assessment of the mother” (Matter of Cayden L.R. [Melissa R.], 108 AD3d 1154, 1155, lv denied 22 NY3d 886), and developed “an appropriate service plan tailored to the situation” and based upon that assessment (Matter of Skye N. [Carl N.], 148 AD3d 1542, 1543 [internal quotation marks omitted] ).  Petitioner also notified the mother of the children's medical appointments, conducted service plan review meetings, and encouraged the mother to engage in regular visitation.  The mother, however, frustrated petitioner's efforts by, among other things, insisting that visitation occur in her home but refusing to allow petitioner to conduct a home inspection.  Petitioner is not required to “guarantee that the parent succeed in overcoming his or her predicaments” (Matter of Sheila G., 61 N.Y.2d 368, 385), and the parent must “assume a measure of initiative and responsibility” (Matter of Jamie M., 63 N.Y.2d 388, 393).  We conclude that, “[g]iven the circumstances, [petitioner] provided what services it could” (Matter of Christian C.-B. [Christopher V.B.], 148 AD3d 1775, 1776 [internal quotation marks omitted] ).

Contrary to the mother's further contention, she was not denied effective assistance of counsel.  “The record, viewed in its totality, establishes that the [mother] received meaningful representation” (Matter of Heffner v. Jaskowiak, 132 AD3d 1418, 1418;  see generally People v. Benevento, 91 N.Y.2d 708, 712).

Mark W. Bennett

Clerk of the Court