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Postby Marina » Sat Jan 02, 2010 8:37 am

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Valencia v. DFPS (Tex.App.- Houston [1st Dist.] Dec. 22, 2009)(Jennings)(termination reversed)
Appellant challenges the trial court’s termination of his parental rights to his minor child. In three issues,
Valencia contends that his court-appointed attorney’s performance at trial “was so patently deficient that [he]
was denied any meaningful assistance of counsel altogether” and the evidence presented against him at trial,
as revealed in a five and one-half page trial transcript, is legally and factually insufficient to support the trial court’
s findings that he endangered the child and that termination of his parental rights is in the child’s best interest.

We reverse that portion of the decree terminating the parent-child relationship between Valencia and V.V.

Before Justices Jennings, Higley and Sharp
01-08-00345-CV Joe Lewis Valencia v. Department of Family and Protective Services
Appeal from 313th District Court of Harris County
Trial Court Judge: Hon. Pat Shelton ... onId=87377

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Postby Marina » Sat Jan 02, 2010 11:23 am

. ... igest1.pdf

page 23

Order Terminating Respondent’s Parental Rights Reversed

Upon a finding of abandonment, Family Court terminated respondent father’s parental
rights with respect to his daughter. The Appellate Division reversed. Petitioner DSS
failed to meet its burden of establishing by clear and convincing evidence that father
failed to visit his daughter or communicate with her or petitioner. The petition was filed
on September 19, 2007, but petitioner presented evidence concerning the failure of the
father to maintain contact with his daughter beginning on March 26, 2007, which was
less than six months prior to the filing of the petition.
Matter of Elegant R.C., 60 AD3d 1386 (4th Dept 2009)


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Postby Marina » Sat Jan 02, 2010 11:25 am

. ... igest1.pdf

page 24

Termination of Parental Rights on Ground of Mental Retardation Modified

Family Court terminated respondent father’s parental rights on the ground of mental
retardation. The Appellate Division modified and remitted for further proceedings.
Petitioner established by clear and convincing evidence that the father was presently
and for the foreseeable future unable, by reason of mental retardation, to provide
proper and adequate care for his child, who had developmental disabilities. Petitioner
presented the testimony of a psychologist and a psychiatrist, who each testified that the
father was mildly mentally retarded and that his mental retardation rendered him
incapable of providing proper and adequate care for his child. However, the court erred
in failing to determine whether post-termination contact with the father was in the best
interests of the child. After the court issued its written decision, both the court and the
attorney for the child expressed their belief that post-termination contact might be
appropriate. The court urged the parties to come to an agreement but the parties were
unable to do so. The court then ordered that the father’s parental right were terminated
without determining whether post-termination contact was in the child’s best interests.

The court erred in conditioning post-termination contact on the parties’ ability to reach
an agreement. Instead, the court should have determined whether such contact was in
the child’s best interests.


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Postby Marina » Sat Jan 02, 2010 11:30 am

. ... igest1.pdf

page 28

Termination of Parental Rights Reversed
Family Court terminated respondent father’s parental rights with respect to his daughter
on the ground of permanent neglect. The Appellate Division reversed. The court
violated father’s due process rights by refusing to permit him to present evidence during
the fact-finding phase of the proceeding after the father failed to make a timely
appearance on the fourth day of the hearing. There was no showing that father waived
his right to be heard. Father appeared on the first three days of the hearing and
communicated his intent to testify. On the fourth day of the hearing, the father’s
attorney notified the court that the father believed the hearing started at 10:00 AM,
rather than 9:00 AM and that he was en route to the hearing. Additionally, father’s first
witness was available to testify. Under those circumstances, respondent’s due process
rights were violated when the court closed the fact-finding hearing and precluded the
father from presenting evidence. In any event, petitioner failed to establish that father
permanently neglected his daughter. Petitioner failed to tailor its efforts to the needs of
this father and daughter. Even assuming, arguendo, that petitioner met its burden with
respect to diligent efforts, petitioner failed to meet its additional burden of establishing
that father failed to maintain contact or plan for his daughter’s future. Despite
substantial geographic, personal, and employment related obstacles, father made
significant efforts to maintain contact with his daughter and plan for her future.
Matter of Patricia C., 63 AD3d 1710 (4th Dept 2009)

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Postby Marina » Sat Jan 02, 2010 12:34 pm


Termination of Parental Rights Based on Death of Former Child by Blunt Force Trauma to Head Reversed by the Court of Appeals
Posted on March 18, 2009 by Jason C. Brown

In an unpublished decision entitled In re the Matter and Welfare of the Child of BTN and AVD, the Minnesota Court of Appeals reversed a district court order terminating the parental rights of the child's parents. Judge Bjorkman wrote without dissent.

BTN and AVD are the parents of DD, who was born on February 6, 2007. One week later, Stearns County Human Services filed a petition alleging that DD was a child in need of protection or services because the parent's first child, AD, experienced egregious harm while in their care, resulting in his death. After an emergency protective-care hearing, DD was placed in foster care. The county subsequently determined that AD had experienced egregious harm while in the care of BTN. and AVD. On that basis, the county petitioned to terminate the parental rights of DD's mother and father.

AD was nine months old when he was taken to the emergency room. BTN and AVD told the responders that AD had been standing in front of the couch and had suddenly arched his back and fallen backward onto the carpeted floor. AD was nonresponsive, and the emergency room doctor who examined him concluded that he had suffered severe head trauma. The doctor ordered a CT scan of AD’s head, which revealed a subdural hematoma. AD died during brain surgery. An autopsy was performed, and the medical examiner concluded that AD’s death was a homicide, caused by blunt trauma to the head, which resulted in a skull fracture and a subdural hematoma.

In orders dated November 29, 2007, the district court terminated the parental rights of BTN and AVD based on its determination that a child (not DD, but AD) had experienced egregious harm in their care and that it was in DD’s best interests for both parents’ parental rights to be terminated.

Parent rights may be terminated only for grave and weighty reasons. The court must exercise great caution in termination proceedings, finding such action proper only when the evidence clearly mandates such a result. A district court may terminate parental rights based on a determination:

that a child has experienced egregious harm in the parent’s care which is of a nature, duration, or chronicity that indicates a lack of regard for the child’s well-being, such that a reasonable person would believe it contrary to the best interest of the child or of any child to be in the parent’s care.

Egregious harm means the infliction of bodily harm to a child or neglect of a child which demonstrates a grossly inadequate ability to provide minimally adequate parental care. To terminate the rights of a parent who has not personally inflicted egregious harm on a child, a court must find that the parent either knew or should have known that the child had experienced egregious harm.

On appeal, the parents contended that contend that the district court’s findings were insufficient to meet the "knowledge" standard - and the court of appeals agreed:

The district court found that AD’s fatal injuries were non-accidental and constitute egregious harm. The district court further found that because BTN and AVD were AD’s only caretakers, at least one of them must have caused the egregious harm and that a non-perpetrating parent would have reasonably known of the harm because of AD’s 'noticeable symptoms.' But the finding that a non-perpetrating parent would have observed symptoms is, at most, a finding that the parent knew or should have known that AD was injured. It is not a finding that a non-perpetrating parent would have been reasonably aware that AD had sustained egregious harm. The district court did not determine which parent caused the harm, identify the 'noticeable symptoms,' or find that the symptoms would have reasonably led a non-perpetrating parent to know that AD’s injury was the result of 'some conduct' satisfying the ‘egregious harm’ definition.

Judge Bjorkman concluded:

Because Minn. Stat. § 260C.301, subd. 1(b)(6), requires a finding that the non-perpetrating parent not only knew of an injury but also knew or should have known that the injury was sustained 'as a result of some conduct satisfying the ‘egregious harm’ definition,' the district court’s findings with respect to a non-perpetrating parent’s knowledge are insufficient.

The court was essentially saying that a non-perpetrating parent cannot be held responsible for egregious harm to a child unless the parent, because of actual or reasonable knowledge, had the opportunity to respond to or protect against the harm. While the district court found that each party gained knowledge of the actions of the other after the suit was initiated by the county, knowledge acquired after the fact does not meet the relevant standard to terminate parental rights.

As noted above, parent rights may be terminated only for grave and weighty reasons under Minnesota law. This case is a prime example of just how far some judges are willing to go to allow a parent to continue to care for their child. Like you, I am shaking my head in disgust. These two parents have seemingly gotten away with the murder of a child based on the "I know nothing" defense, pointing at each other. Bad enough that they are allowed to even conceive another victim...I mean, child. Now, they get to keep it?


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Postby Marina » Sat Jan 02, 2010 12:44 pm

. ... 202009.pdf

page 8

A.H. v. Department of Children and Families, --- So.3d ----, 2009 WL 4059232 (Fla. 5th DCA 2009).


The father appealed his termination of parental rights which occurred after he failed to appear at a TPR adjudicatory hearing. The appellate court reversed and held that the trial court failed to comply with section §39.801(3) (d), Florida Statutes (2008). Although the court advised the father at the initial advisory hearing that his failure to appear for trial could result in termination of his rights, at the status hearing almost nine months later the court failed to give this instruction to the father even when the father informed the court that he would not be present. Indeed, the court intimated that Appellant's attorney could appear for him. ... 611.op.pdf (November 23, 2009).


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Postby Marina » Sat Jan 02, 2010 12:54 pm

. ... e=Standard

Monday, April 27, 2009
High court reverses termination of mom's rights
Jennifer Mehalik - [email protected]
IL Staff

The majority of Indiana Supreme Court justices ruled in a parental termination case that the evidence presented didn't clearly show a mother's rights to her son should be terminated. One justice dissented because he believes an appellate court should defer to the lower court in assessing the facts of a case.

In the Involuntary Termination of Parent-Child Relationship of G.Y.; R.Y., mother; and G.Y., father v. Indiana Department of Child Services and Child Services, No. 49S02-0902-JV-091, the high court April 24 reversed the termination of R.Y.'s parental rights to her son, G.Y., because the majority believed the termination was clearly erroneous based on the evidence.

R.Y. had her son in April 2004 and took care of him for nearly 20 months until she was arrested and incarcerated for a drug offense that took place a year before G.Y.'s birth. She failed in getting a relative or friend to care for her son while she was in prison, so G.Y. was placed in foster care and deemed to be a child in need of services. R.Y. was ordered to participate in certain classes, find a job and housing, and other matters before she could be reunited with G.Y. after being released from prison. While incarcerated, she maintained contact with her son and had regular visits with him.

In 2007, the state filed a petition to terminate the mother's parental rights, which the trial court granted. The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed.

The justices examined the evidence presented to support the termination of R.Y.'s parental rights, and the majority ruled the evidence didn't clearly and convincingly support ending her parental rights. They examined the likelihood she would re-offend, the effects on G.Y. of an additional period of instability, R.Y.'s new job and housing when she is released, G.Y.'s bond with his foster parents, and the degree of interaction with G.Y. while his mother was in prison to come to their conclusion.

The majority didn't find the likelihood she would re-offend, the amount of time it will likely take her to comply with the conditions of the court's participation decree, the fact G.Y. is closer to his foster parents right now than his mother, or G.Y.'s need for immediately permanency through adoption to be sufficiently strong reasons - alone or in conjunction with the trial court's other reasons - to determine termination was in G.Y.'s best interest, wrote Justice Frank Sullivan. The majority also noted there were some programs and assessments R.Y. couldn't complete until after she was released from prison.

In his dissent, Justice Theodore Boehm believed an appellate court should be very reluctant to conduct its own assessment of the cumulative effect of the factors above on the child and the mother's likelihood of addressing the problems that led to the dispositional order. The review of the factors turns on a judgment as to the credibility of the witnesses both to their accounts of past events and their evaluation of R.Y.'s future ability to parent and G.Y.'s ability to thrive.

"I certainly agree that there is unfairness in a CHINS dispositional order that includes directives to the mother that she is incapable of fulfilling while incarcerated," wrote the justice. "But I read the trial court's order as turning on the child's best interests and the determination that the conditions leading to the child's removal will not be remedied - not the mother's failure to comply fully with the dispositional order."


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Postby Marina » Sat Jan 02, 2010 1:03 pm


Note: These cases were found by searching:

termination parental rights reversed 2009

Terminating Parental Rights When Mom is Mildly Retarded
April 16th, 2009

This is another of those cases where DHR is trying to defend a juvenile court’s decision to terminate the parental rights of a child, and again the appeals court reverses. Are juvenile court judges just not getting it, or is the appeals court setting too high a standard?

The case is C.S.B. v. State Department of Human Resources, Case No. 2071120 (Ala. Civ. App. April 3, 2009. Mom was mildly mentally retarded and had already had her parental rights terminated as to an older child, although the grounds for that termination were not available in the record. DHR responded to a report that Mom was abusing the child. DHR found no evidence of abuse but removed the child because it determined that the child’s safety was “questionable.” A later DHR report observed that the initial report came from the maternal grandmother, who had a conflict with the mother.

Mom cooperated with DHR and attended her visitation sessions with the child regularly. She missed one session amid some evidence she may have lied about her reasons for missing it, but basically she did about as well as can be expected for a mother in her position.

In its petition, DHR alleged that Mom was unable to care for the child because she was retarded, but when it attempted to introduce an expert who had interviewed Mom and who was prepared to testify about his report on her mental condition, Mom’s attorney objected on the basis of the psycotherapist-patient privilege. The juvenile court sustained the objection, and DHR failed to appeal the ruling.

The juvenile court’s ruling was in error under Ala. R. Evid. Rule 503, which provides: “There is no privilege under this rule for relevant communications offered in a child custody case in which the mental state of a party is clearly an issue and a proper resolution of the custody question requires disclosure.” But DHR didn’t appeal the court’s ruling, so the appeals court ruled that it could not consider any evidence in the expert’s report. The appeals court therefore found itself ruling on a record that contained little or no evidence of Mom’s limited mental capacity, and little or no evidence of problems caused for the child.

The standard for terminating parental rights begins with Ala. Code § 26-18-7, which says the court must find from clear and convincing evidence that the parent is unable or unwilling to discharge the responsibility to and for the child, or that the parent’s conduct or condition is such as to render him or her unable to care properly for the child and that such conduct or condition is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future. To this standard the courts have added an additional requirement, that the court consider and reject all available alternatives to terminating parental rights.

Mom’s argument on appeal was that the juvenile court terminated her rights without that clear and convincing evidence and that the juvenile court failed to consider all available alternatives. The appeals court agreed.

In this case we conclude that the juvenile court’s decision to terminate the mother’s parental rights was not supported by clear and convincing evidence. From the mother’s testimony, we can glean that her intellectual capabilities are undoubtedly below average. However, because no doctor who has evaluated the mother was allowed to testify about or submit reports regarding those evaluations, there is no evidence as to the extent of the mother’s limited mental capacity, whether the mother’s mental limitations prevent her from being able to fulfill her parental responsibilities to the child, and whether the mother’s condition is likely to change . . . We understand DHR’s concern for the child, especially in light of the child’s diagnosis of cerebral palsy and the mother’s apparent limited mental capacity. However, as this court has held, “[p]overty and limited mentality of a mother, in the absence of abuse or lack of caring, should not be the criteria for taking away a wanted child from the parents.” In re Hickman, 489 So. 2d 601, 602-03 (Ala. Civ. App. 1986). Based on the evidence in the record, we cannot say that the evidence supports a finding that the circumstances in this case are so egregious as to warrant the irrevocable termination of the mother’s parental rights as to the child. We conclude that the juvenile court’s findings are not supported by clear and convincing evidence.

The appeals court therefore reversed the juvenile court’s ruling.

In his special concurrence, Judge Moore agreed with the appeals court majority but said that expert testimony should not be required to prove the obvious mental incapacity of a parent. In her dissent, Judge Thomas said the juvenile court had already reached findings of fact that the mother was unable to care for the child. She said that the appeals court, in reversing the juvenile court, was reweighing the evidence. The juvenile court’s conclusion was not plainly and palpably wrong, she argued, and therefore the appeals court should have affirmed the juvenile court’s ruling on appeal.


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Postby Marina » Sat Jan 02, 2010 1:20 pm


COA Opinion: In camera interviews are improper to determine best interest of child in parental rights termination

December 16th, 2009

On December 15, 2009, the Court of Appeals published its opinion in In Re Compton Minors, Nos. 290213 & 290214, affirming the trial court’s statutory grounds for terminating the parents’ rights but vacating and remanding the portion of the trial court’s opinion pertaining to its “best interests of the child” determination. The Court of Appeals concluded that a trial court presiding over a juvenile proceeding may not conduct unrecorded in camera interviews of the minor children when considering whether termination is in their best interest. Read more »


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Postby Marina » Sat Jan 02, 2010 1:21 pm


COA Opinion: Termination of parental rights entered after proceedings conducted without assistance of counsel affected respondent’s fundamental rights

November 30th, 2009

On November 24, 2009, the Court of Appeals published a per curiam opinion in In re Williams, No. 289260. Respondent mother and respondent father appealed the trial court’s order terminating their parental rights on the basis of insufficient evidence to support termination. The Court of Appeals considered the unpreserved claim of constitutional error involving the respondent father’s lack of counsel during the termination hearing, and other proceedings that occurred after the Department of Human Services had manifested its intent to terminate the respondent father’s parental rights. The Court of Appeals emphasized that a respondent’s right to counsel in parental-rights-termination proceedings are statutory and constitutional. MCL § 712A.17c(4); MCR 3.915(B)(1)(b). The Court of Appeals explained that it has expressly recognized that constitutional due process guarantees indigent parents the right to appointed counsel at hearings that may involve parental-rights termination. The Court of Appeals held that it was not harmless error for the referee to fail to inform respondent father at the permanency planning hearing about his right to counsel, or to refuse to appoint counsel at the respondent father’s termination hearing, because these plain errors affected the fundamental fairness of the proceedings and the respondent father’s substantial rights. Accordingly, the Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s order terminating the respondent-father’s parental rights and remanded for further proceedings. Judge Gleicher’s concurring opinion can be found here.


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Postby Marina » Sat Jan 02, 2010 2:15 pm

. ... athanb.htm

In re Nathan B.
Conn. App. (2009)
Appellate Court, released August 18, 2009


In this unusual and striking appeal of a termination of parental rights decision, the sole issue was whether the trial judge's continuing to preside at trial created an appearance of impropriety, thereby requiring his recusal. The appellate court concluded that it did, and reversed the judgment of the trial court.

On the first day of a two day termination of parental rights trial, the court reprimanded the father for his "disruptive" behavior in the court room and engaged in a lengthy colloquy with the respondent that included the following exchange:

''[The Respondent]: I've been very, no, I've been very concerned for a long time.

''The Court: Well, it doesn't look like it from what I've seen here. Please continue. And you can't blame me for taking that . . . opinion.

''[The Respondent]: Well, Your Honor . . . .

''The Court: Somebody who cared would not stick himself in jail and stay there so he couldn't see his child. Now, I don't want to get into it any further. Move on. [I'm] [s]ick of these people who come in and say, 'Oh, I really care. I haven't seen him in nine years, Judge, but I really care.' Check with your attorney see what he has done in the last nine years with his family and how he has worked. Check with anybody here. They tended to their families. Move on.''

At the conclusion of the case, the father's counsel moved for a new trial on the grounds that the court was not impartial. Said motion was denied on the grounds that the father had "opened the door" for the dialogue by addressing the court directly. The court ultimately granted the termination petition. On appeal, the father contended that the court violated the principles of impartiality and fairness set forth in canon 3(c) (1) of the Code of Judicial Conduct, and a new trial should have been granted.

The appellate court determined that "[a]n objective observer reasonably could believe that the court's comments suggested that the respondent's motives were disingenuous and that the court characterized the respondent as a member of a group of litigants who insincerely assert an interest in court. The respondent's credibility was implicitly questioned before he testified. The court engaged in conduct that would lead a reasonable person to question the court's impartiality. Accordingly, the court abused its discretion by failing to grant the respondent's motion for a new trial."


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Postby Dazeemay » Mon Oct 18, 2010 9:07 pm

This link shows a parent/s how they can have their TPR's restored. It is a must read.

If the link does not connect you which over time that happens google this name LaShanda Taylor

This is not legal advice;hopefully wisdom

To put it in simple terms…when the authorities ARE the perpetrators and the perpetrators ARE the authorities, there is no earthly justice or recourse, at the end of the day (unless the American people wake up).

Therefore, those who have achieved the highest levels of power seek to ‘enjoy’ the most grievous and extreme injustices. For many of those in the highest circles of power, the greatest statement of power is to perpetrate the greatest possible injustice…the savage, brutal traumatization and abuse of an innocent child. MattTwoFour

"Ultimately, the law is only as good as the judge" --- D.X. Yue, 2005, in "law, reason and judicial fraud";site_id=1;objid=45;curloc=Site:1

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Postby Gwendolyn » Sun Sep 02, 2012 11:17 am

Where is a link for pennsylvania, greatly appreciated ..I am relentless to find justice and will E-mail anyone that may be a glimmer of hope .. Traveling is not a option I moved the HELL out of pa to go back home to Florida where I belong .I am struggling w/a tremendous amount of guilt leaving PA I did not give up on my children or leave them..please don't judge !!

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Postby Eljay » Sun Sep 02, 2012 11:29 am

You can find ALL state laws here via the DHS state statutes search engine: ... ies/state/
Advice & opinions provided are no substitute for genuine legal assistance. Laws & rules vary by state/jurisdiction so do your homework and get
an education in CPS laws, rules & practices so that you can FIGHT for your children's rights. I am not a lawyer. Your mileage may vary.

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