Matter of Arianna I. v. Roger I.
Justice Michael Kavanagh
Respondent parents appealed from orders that adjudicated the subject children abandoned and/or permanently neglected, and terminated respondents' parental rights. The children were removed from mother's custody and she was barred from having contact with them under a temporary order of protection. The court ruled the record supported a finding mother permanently neglected the children, but disagreed that termination of parental rights was in the children's best interests. Further, father Charles claimed the Cortland County Department of Social Services (DSS) failed to make diligent efforts to foster a constructive relationship between him and his daughter. The attorney for the child agreed, as did the court, noting while Charles' incarceration posed problems, such circumstance alone did not relieve DSS of its statutory obligations. The order finding he permanently neglected the child, and termination of his parental rights was reversed, and the petition against him dismissed. Yet, the panel found differently for father Roger, who claimed DSS prevented him from communicating with his daughter. It concluded Roger failed to prove such allegation or that DSS interfered with his efforts to contact the child, affirming the order finding he abandoned the child.