Care and Protection of Laurent. 
Argued: September 5, 2014.
Petition filed in the Middlesex County Division of the Juvenile Court Department on October 17, 2011.
The case was heard by Kenneth J. King, J.
David J. Cohen, Committee for Public Counsel Services, for the mother.
Richard A. Salcedo for Department of Children and Families.
Julia A.B. Pearson for the child.
Present: Green, Graham, & Katzmann, JJ.
[22 N.E.3d 975] Graham,
On October, 17, 2011, the Department of Children and
Families (department) filed a care and protection petition in the Middlesex
County Division of the Juvenile Court Department pursuant to G. L. c. 119 § 24,
alleging Laurent was a child in need of care and protection. On that day, the
trial court judge granted temporary emergency custody of Laurent to the
department. The department later placed him in foster care, where he remained
through the conclusion of the trial.
Trial on the department's petition occurred over seven non-consecutive days, [22 N.E.3d 976] beginning on November 1, 2012, and concluding on January 3, 2013. On February 21, 2013, the judge found the mother unfit, essentially, on the basis that she was too cognitively limited to parent the child. Accordingly, the child was committed to the custody of the department, with reunification as the plan.
On appeal, the mother contends that the judge's findings regarding her parenting deficiencies, taken as a whole, do not support a conclusion that the child was at risk of serious harm, and thus in need of care and protection. We agree with mother and, accordingly, reverse the judgment.
We summarize the material facts from the judge's
extensive findings, which are supported by the evidence, and essentially
Laurent is one of five children born to the mother, who was forty years old at time of trial. The mother experienced significant trauma and neglect as a child. As a child, the mother contracted lead poisoning, which resulted in severe developmental disabilities. In addition, the mother sustained a skull fracture when she was eight years old. When she was fourteen, she was placed in department custody due to abuse and neglect. She was placed in foster care and residential programs through her teens. When the mother turned eighteen years old, she was released from department custody, and eventually returned to live with her mother.
The mother has an extensive history of alcohol and cocaine abuse. In addition, she has been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, and " executive function impairment" ...