Matter of Damian L
Justice William McCarthy
Petitioner Rensselaer County Department of Social Services (DSS) was previously granted applications to adjudicate father Frederick children permanently neglected and terminated his parental rights. Frederick now appealed. The court noted the Family Court's decision was supported by clear and convincing evidence that Frederick permanently neglected his three sons. It found diligent efforts to encourage and strengthen the parental relationship was made, and DSS referred Frederick to an agency providing parenting and anger management classed. The record showed DSS approved payment for classes, assisted in applying for public assistance and arranged weekly visitation with the children, including attempting to rearrange visitations to fit father's new work schedule. Thus, the court found DSS met its burden of proving it made diligent efforts to encourage a parent-child relationship. It noted at the time of a hearing, the children were in foster care for nearly three years and father visited, but missed visitations in the period of his incarceration, and depression, as well as when he absconded for 11 months from probation. The court affirmed the Family Court's decision the children's best interests were served by terminating Frederick's parental rights and freeing the boys for adoption.