Adoption of Douglas (and five companion cases  )
T. Spratt for Douglas & others.
M. Yanoff for father I.
Cowhey McDermott for the mother.
J. McCarthy, Jr., for Cole & another.
M. Murphy for Department of Children and Families.
L. Prince & Andrew L. Cohen, Committee for Public Counsel
Services, for Committee for Public Counsel Services, amicus
curiae, submitted a brief.
N.E.3d 597] These cases are appeals of consolidated care and
protection petitions concerning six children -- Douglas, Tom,
Brian, Mark, Cole, and Frank. The appeals are brought by the
biological mother of the six children; by the biological
father of the two oldest children (father I) -- Douglas and
Tom; and by four of the children -- Douglas, Tom, Brian, and
Mark. They appeal from the provisions of decrees of the
Juvenile Court denying parental visitation after termination
of the parental rights of the mother, father I, and the
biological father of the four younger children (father II) --
Brian, Mark, Cole, and Frank. The Appeals Court, in a
memorandum and order pursuant to its rule 1:28, dismissed the
appeals of the mother and father I. It concluded that neither
had standing to challenge the orders concerning visitation
because their parental rights had been terminated after the
consolidated hearings, pursuant to G. L. c. 119, § 26,
and G. L. c. 210, § 3, were concluded, and they had not
appealed from the entry of the termination decrees. See
Adoption of Douglas, 87 Mass.App.Ct. 1118, 30 N.E.3d
133 (2015). With respect to the appeal of the four children,
the Appeals Court
affirmed the decrees of the Juvenile Court. Id. We
granted further appellate review, and affirm the Juvenile
Court judge's decrees.
Department of Children and Families (department) filed a care
and protection petition on behalf of Douglas, Tom, Brian, and
Mark, alleging neglect due to substance use and domestic
abuse of all four children. The department subsequently filed
a care and protection petition on behalf of Cole and Frank,
and the two petitions were consolidated. On March 3, 2010,
the mother, father I, and father II each stipulated to his or
her current unfitness and that their respective children were
in need of care and protection.
3 or 4, 2013, each of the parents submitted a written
stipulation acknowledging his or her current unfitness,
agreeing to the issuance of a decree terminating his or her
respective parental rights; waiving the right to trial on the
merits of the care and protection petitions; and waiving the
right to appeal " as to unfitness and the [45 N.E.3d
598] termination of parental rights." The stipulations
of father I and the mother also expressly reserved " the
right to appeal any decision rendered as to the proposed
plans of adoption for each child." They did so with the
apparent understanding and agreement that entry of decrees
terminating their parental rights would be deferred until
" the conclusion of the hearings" concerning
placement of the children and parental and sibling
visitation, that they would retain the right to participate
in those placement hearings, and that they could appeal from
any adverse result. The Juvenile Court judge conducted
colloquies and accepted the stipulations, but neither found
the parents unfit nor entered decrees terminating their
parental rights at that time.
judge thereafter conducted a hearing in the consolidated
cases that extended over the course of seven days, beginning
on June 3, 2013, and concluding on June 20, 2013. Thereafter,
on October 1, 2013, the judge issued an order adjudicating,
pursuant to G. L. c. 119, § 26, and G. L. c. 210, §
3, the parents to be unfit; ordering the entry of decrees
terminating their respective parental rights; approving the
plans of adoption submitted by the department;  declining to
order either posttermination or postadoption visitation
between the children and their respective biological parents;
and ordering sibling visitation. He issued 449 findings of
fact and twenty-nine conclusions of law on February 10, 2014.
The mother, father I, and the four oldest children (Douglas,
Tom, Brian, and Mark) appealed.
parental rights have been terminated by entry of a decree,
parents have the right to participate in proceedings to
determine issues such as placement and visitation
arrangements concerning their children. See Adoption of
Gillian, 63 ...