Heard: January 9, 2018. 
filed in the Essex County Division of the Juvenile Court
Department on December 1, 2014.
case was heard by Jose A. Sanchez, J.
M. Isaman for the mother.
Richard A. Salcedo for Department of Children and Families.
T. Rose for the child.
Present: Trainor, Massing, & Singh, JJ.
mother appeals from a decree of the Juvenile Court finding
the child to be in need of care and protection, terminating
her parental rights to the child, and declining to order
posttermination and postadoption visitation.The mother argues
that the judge erroneously found a nexus between the
mother's substance abuse, poverty, and homelessness, and
her ability to provide minimally adequate care of the child.
The mother additionally argues that the judge erroneously
admitted and relied upon her substance abuse treatment
records in reaching his findings. We affirm.
summarize the relevant facts and procedural history as set
forth in the judge's decision and as supported by the
record. The child, Virgil, was born in February, 2010. The
Department of Children and Families (department) first became
involved with the mother and Virgil in August of 2014 when
Virgil's pediatrician filed a G. L. c. 119, § 51A,
report (51A report) alleging the mother's neglect of
Virgil. The report specifically alleged that the mother was
unable to attend to Virgil's hygiene due to her severe
depression. Within the same month, another 51A report
was filed alleging "deplorable conditions" in the
mother's apartment. That report alleged that there were
flies everywhere, trash on the floor and on the kitchen
stove, and a strong odor of cat urine. Both 51A reports were
supported by the department.
an investigation conducted by the department, Virgil's
doctor's office reported that the mother was inconsistent
with Virgil's medical care, missing more than twenty
scheduled appointments for Virgil. In September, 2014, the
mother was charged with larceny pursuant to a single scheme
of an amount over $250. In October, 2014, the mother was
evicted from her apartment. Using funds provided by Compass
for Kids, the mother moved to a new apartment. During that
same month, the mother was arrested for open warrants
pertaining to previous motor vehicle and larceny charges. The
department was notified after the mother was unable to make
arrangements for Virgil at the time of her arrest. After the
mother posted bail, an emergency response worker from the
department accompanied the mother to her new apartment to
determine its suitability. The emergency response worker
observed old food on the counters, dirty dishes piled in the
sink, overflowing trash, black trash bags piled around the
apartment, and clothes strewn throughout. On November 28,
2014, a department social worker made an unannounced visit to
the mother's apartment. Upon arriving, the social worker
heard the mother screaming and yelling obscenities at Virgil.
Once inside the apartment, the social worker observed that
the apartment was "filthy, " filled with trash,
piles of clothes, and broken items. The department removed
Virgil from the mother's care that same day due to the
mother's mental health issues and the apartment's
December 1, 2014, the department filed a petition with the
Juvenile Court, pursuant to G. L. c. 119, § 24,
asserting that Virgil was in need of care and protection. The
department was granted emergency temporary custody. The
mother thereafter signed a service plan with the department
but ultimately was unable to complete any of the service plan
tasks. Starting in June of 2015, the mother failed to attend
any of the scheduled visits with Virgil. On August 18, 2015,
the department filed its notice of intent to seek termination
of the mother's parental rights to Virgil.
September, 2015, the mother was referred to Habit Opco, a
drug abuse treatment facility, after she had been admitted to
Lawrence General Hospital for a drug overdose. Upon admission
to Habit Opco, the mother tested positive for opiates,
cocaine, and buprenorphine. The Habit Opco drug abuse
treatment records indicate that the mother informed
counsellors that she started using opiates five years prior
to her admission and heroin four months prior, and that she
was currently using two bags of heroin daily. From March of
2015 to March of 2016, the mother was in and out of several
shelters, was arrested for trespassing, and was reprimanded
by, as well as asked to leave, various shelters for
aggressive behavior. On March 16, 2016, the mother entered a
drug treatment program at Women's View, where it was
noted that she had a significant risk of relapse. On April 8,
2016, in the middle of trial, the mother was arrested and
charged with breaking and entering. A few days after her
arrest she was allowed to reenter a shelter, where she tested
positive for benzodiazepines.
about December 4, 2015, and March 30, 2016, the department
filed motions for disclosure of the mother's substance
abuse treatment records from Habit Opco and Women's View,
respectively; both motions were allowed. After a seven-day
trial,  the judge found the mother unfit and the
child in need of care and protection, terminated the
mother's parental rights, and declined to order
posttermination and postadoption visitation.