A New York State Appeals Court has upheld the termination of parental rights of a Schuyler County man who was found to have severely abused and/or permanently neglected his children.
In a decision dated February 21, and posted to Westlaw thereafter, the Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Third Department agreed with the office of Schuyler County Attorney Steven Getman that the children were permanently neglected and that a finding supported termination of the man's parental rights, thereby freeing the children for adoption.
“This Court found a sound and substantial basis in the record to support the findings of abuse and neglect,” the court held. “In 2015, the (man’s) daughter sustained severe injuries (including) a spiral fracture of her left tibia in March 2015 and a life-threatening subdural hematoma and bilateral retinal hemorrhages in May 2015.”
“(The) Family Court's determination to terminate respondent's parental rights was supported by a sound and substantial basis in the record,” the court held, noting that the father had failed to work with county agencies to rehabilitate himself.
“Despite the provision of numerous services, repeated reminders to engage in same, a court order requiring his cooperation and participation in such services and the passage of nearly three years from when respondent's children were removed from his care and the date of the dispositional hearing, (the father) had not completed parenting education and, more importantly, had only recently engaged in mental health treatment.”
The court’s decision, Getman said, means that the children can be adopted by fit and willing adoptive parents.
“We are happy that the court upheld the decision to terminate parental rights,” Getman said. “The injuries described in the original petition were horrific.”
“We want these kids to be safe and ready to have a loving and safe family take them in permanently,” Getman said. “The Commissioner of Social Services, JoAnn Fratarcangelo, is working to ensure that happens as soon as possible.”
The Schuyler County Department of Social Services is the lead civil investigative agency for cases of alleged child abuse and neglect. The Schuyler County Attorney is the prosecuting attorney for all county agencies involving civil cases, including family court matters involving abuse and neglect.
The names of the man and his children were withheld to protect the innocent.
The Office of Steven J. Getman, Schuyler County Attorney, represented the Department of Social Services. The father was represented by McGraw attorney Lisa K. Miller. Pamela Gee, of Big Flats, served as attorney for the subject children.
The complete decision can be found here
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