Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Adoption of Talik

Appeals Court of Massachusetts, Suffolk

October 4, 2017

ADOPTION OF TALIK[1]

          Heard: July 28, 2017.

         Petition filed in the Suffolk County Division of the Juvenile Court Department on March 6, 2013.

         The case was heard by Peter M. Coyne, J.

          Dennis M. Toomey for the mother.

          Bryan F. Bertram, Assistant Attorney General, for Department of Children and Families.

          Deborah J. Bero for the child.

          Present: Green, Ditkoff, & Wendlandt, JJ.

          WENDLANDT, J.

         The mother appeals from a decree issued by a judge of the Juvenile Court finding her unfit to parent her son, Talik, terminating her parental rights, placing the child in the care of the Department of Children and Families (DCF), and approving DCF's plan for adoption of the child by his foster parents.[2] The mother argues that (1) the judge impermissibly drew an adverse inference from her failure to attend the trial; (2) the evidence of her unfitness was stale and thus could not support a finding of her unfitness by clear and convincing evidence; and (3) the pretrial placement of the child with the foster parents instead of with the child's maternal grandmother's first cousin (relative) in California was an abuse of discretion. We conclude that the judge did not err in drawing a negative inference from the mother's absence and finding that the mother was unfit, and that there was no abuse of discretion in the child's pretrial placement. Accordingly, we affirm.

         1. Background.

         We draw on the detailed findings of fact made by the judge, which find ample support in the record. The child was born in March, 2013, and his meconium tested positive for marijuana. The mother tested positive for OxyContin, cocaine, and opiates. The child was admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit due to high blood sugar levels (attributed to the mother's mismanagement of her diabetes during the pregnancy), a possible heart murmur, and concerns regarding his liver. During the pregnancy, the mother tested positive for marijuana at her first prenatal appointment, which occurred just over two months before the child was born. She refused toxicology screens for the remainder of her pregnancy. Between December, 2012, and the child's birth, the mother exhibited drug seeking behavior, visiting the hospital several times to seek pain medication ostensibly because she was unable to regulate her insulin levels; on one occasion, she smelled of alcohol.

         Three days after the child's birth, DCF filed a care and protection petition seeking custody of the child. Both parents waived their rights to a temporary custody hearing, and the petition was allowed. Twelve days after his birth, the child was discharged to the care of his foster parents, where he has remained ever since.

         After DCF took temporary custody of the child in March, 2013, DCF drafted a service plan for the mother with the goal of reunification. The plan tasked the mother with (1) attending parenting classes; (2) participating in substance abuse treatment; (3) providing toxicology screens; (4) engaging in mental health treatment and taking any prescribed medications; (5) maintaining contact with DCF; (6) making her whereabouts known to DCF; and (7) attending visits with the child. The mother attended an outpatient addiction and treatment management program in March, 2013, but was discharged from the program in May, 2013, due to her lack of attendance. She submitted two urine screens in April, 2013, both of which came back negative. Other than these efforts, the mother did not complete the service plan tasks. In addition, the mother has a long history of domestic violence with the father in front of their other children, [3] and additional incidents of domestic violence were reported after DCF obtained temporary custody of the child.

         In September, 2013, DCF changed the child's placement goal to adoption. The mother continued her noncompliance with DCF's service plan and has not visited the ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.