THE CONNECTICUT LAW TRIBUNE
May 8, 2007
Ruling that efforts to reunify a minor child and his deaf father were not in the best interests of the minor child, a court ordered the guardian ad litem to maintain contact, in case the minor child wants to see his father. The minor child was neglected and abused during his first four years, until removed from his mother. In 2002, a successful foster placement was disrupted when his foster parents separated. The biological mother consented to the termination of her parental rights in 2004. Currently 12, the minor child has spent 38 months in psychiatric level residential hospitals and has attended 12 schools. He has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and oppositional defiant disorder. His foster parents are willing to take care of the minor child "as long as he wants to stay with us or until such time as his behavior would warrant a change in residence." The biological father accepted the mother's declaration that another man was the minor child's father and did not immediately file for paternity. The court estimated there was no American Sign Language interpreter present at about 50 percent of DCF meetings and court hearings the deaf father attended. The court criticized the social workers for intellectual dishonesty, because they did not consistently present balanced reports that mentioned the father's successes, which included therapy and completion of anger management. At one point, a social worker reported the father, who had moved, as "whereabouts unknown," because he could not be located in Connecticut databases, even though the social worker knew the father lived in Massachusetts. Presumably because the father was not located, no written plan with specific steps was ever presented to him. He was not advised about his rights. There was no record of a Bureau of Indian Affairs notice. Regrettably, the father may never be capable of supplying the stability and security required by his special needs child. The court denied DCF's petition to terminate the father's parental rights but found that reunification with the father would be disruptive and is not in the child's best interests. The court asked the guardian ad litem to maintain periodic contact, because the minor child might decide he wants to speak to his father.
Gale Document Number:A166345804