IN RE: LITTLE FLOWER CHILDREN'S SERVICES on Behalf of JOHN EDWARD M.

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

IN RE: LITTLE FLOWER CHILDREN'S SERVICES on Behalf of JOHN EDWARD M. HYMES W. (Anonymous), etc., Appellant, v. SELENA MARIA W. (Anonymous), Respondent.

IN RE: LITTLE FLOWER CHILDREN'S SERVICES on Behalf of “FEMALE W.”, etc., Appellant, v. SELENA MARIA W. (Anonymous), Respondent.

Decided: August 31, 1998

Before ROSENBLATT, J.P., and RITTER, COPERTINO and FLORIO, JJ. Carrieri & Carrieri, P.C., Mineola (Ralph R. Carrieri and Joseph R. Carrieri, of counsel), for appellant. Andrew A. Bokser, Brooklyn, for respondent. Ricardo E. Fernandez, New York City, Law Guardian for the children.

In two proceedings pursuant to Social Services Law § 384-b to terminate parental rights, the petitioner appeals from so much of two orders of disposition (one in each proceeding) of the Family Court, Kings County (Grosvenor, J.), both dated July 7, 1997, as, after a fact-finding hearing, granted the mother's motion to dismiss the petitions as against her.

ORDERED that the orders of disposition are affirmed insofar as appealed from, without costs or disbursements.

The petitioner, Little Flower Children's Services (hereinafter Little Flower), commenced these proceedings, inter alia, to terminate the parental rights of the respondent mother on the ground of permanent neglect (see, Social Services Law § 384-b[7][a] ).   At the close of a fact-finding hearing, the Family Court granted the mother's motion to dismiss the petitions as against her on the ground that Little Flower had failed to meet its threshold burden of demonstrating that it had undertaken diligent efforts to encourage and strengthen the parental relationship (see, Matter of Gregory B., 74 N.Y.2d 77, 544 N.Y.S.2d 535, 542 N.E.2d 1052;  Matter of Sheila G., 61 N.Y.2d 368, 474 N.Y.S.2d 421, 462 N.E.2d 1139;  Matter of Alicia Shante H., 245 A.D.2d 509, 666 N.Y.S.2d 682).   We affirm.

The appeals bring into sharp focus the necessity and importance of maintaining accurate and complete records.   At the hearing, Little Flower relied on the testimony of a single caseworker.   However, the caseworker, whose testimony was contradictory on several points, had little or no independent recollection of the relevant events and relied heavily on her notes and the agency's records.   The notes and records, some of which were generated months after the subject event had occurred, proved inaccurate and incomplete.   In sum, there was a failure of proof and the Family Court properly dismissed the petitions as against the mother (see, Matter of Lisa M., 222 A.D.2d 1088, 635 N.Y.S.2d 843;  Matter of Jessica UU., 174 A.D.2d 98, 578 N.Y.S.2d 925).

MEMORANDUM BY THE COURT.

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