In re Anthony A.

Connecticut Appellate Court

February 17, 2009

TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS/GRANDPARENT’S MOTION TO TRANSFER OF GUARDIANSHIP/STANDING.

In this consolidated appeal, the respondent mother appealed from the trial court’s judgment terminating her parental rights, and the intervening maternal great-grandmother appealed from the court’s denial of the motion to revoke commitment and transfer guardianship. The appellate court affirmed the judgment of the trial court, finding that the decision to terminate parental rights was not clearly erroneous and that the court’s denial of the motion for transfer of guardianship was not an abuse of discretion.

On March 22, 2006, the department invoked a 96-hour hold on nine-month-old Anthony A. following a domestic violence incident between his parents. On March 24, the court issued an ex parte order of temporary custody and on November 14 adjudicated the child neglected and committed him to DCF custody. On appeal, the appellate court upheld the trial court’s finding that the department had made reasonable efforts toward reunification and that the respondent had failed to rehabilitate by remaining involved in an abusive relationship, failing to complete several treatment programs, lacking parenting skills, and failing to secure and maintain adequate housing and employment. The court further agreed that termination was in the best interests of the child, noting that Anthony’s foster parents, who expressed a willingness to adopt him, were also his psychological parents.

Turning to the intervenor’s appeal, the court first considered whether the intervenor had standing to appeal the denial of the motion for transfer of guardianship. Noting that “every presumption favoring jurisdiction should be indulged,” the appellate court concluded that the intervenor had standing to appeal, even though the intervenor never filed a motion for transfer of guardianship and some ambiguity existed as to whether she intervened in the neglect petition matter and formally joined the respondent’s motion for transfer of guardianship. The court then concluded that based on the record below, which indicated that Anthony was bonded to his foster parents, denying the motion for transfer of guardianship was not an abuse of discretion.

The case may be accessed by going to the Judicial Branch website athttp://www.jud.state.ct.us/external/supapp/Cases/AROap/AP106/106AP165.pdf

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