In re Anvahnay S.

Connecticut Appellate Court

April 19, 2011

TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS/INCARCERATED PARENT

The appellate court in this case rejected the respondent father’s contention that the trial court erroneously found that DCF had made reasonable efforts to reunify him with his daughter, despite the fact that for much of the duration of the child protection case, the Department had no contact with the father. Additionally, the court held that there was sufficient evidence that the father could not rehabilitate within a reasonable period of time considering the age and needs of his child.

The court first noted that while the Department could have done more to maintain contact with the father during the child protection proceedings, that the father was either incarcerated or on “escape” status for much of the time. Even when the father was on “escape” status, DCF made contact with the paternal grandparents who were in regular contact with the respondent. The Department requested that the grandparents provide the father with DCF’s contact information and ask him to get in touch with the Department regarding his child’s case. Additionally, when the Department learned from the grandparents that the respondent had been re-incarcerated, DCF did make periodic contact with the Department, encouraging the father to avail himself of whatever programs the correctional facility could offer. Finally, though the Department relied on the grandparents to facilitate visitation between father and child, when the Department learned that the grandparents were not providing such visitation, the Department immediately made efforts to provide the visitation directly. The court also noted that despite the Department requesting that the father contact the agency once he was released to a community half-way house, the father never called the case worker. The court observed that the record contained no evidence of the father ever contacting the Department directly to inquire about his child’s case, services, visitation, or any other opportunity to present himself as a custodial resource. Lastly, the court held that it was not error for the trial court to conclude that the father failed to rehabilitate, when the father made minimal to no efforts to maintain contact with the Department, admitted that he did not avail himself of any prison programming, indicated that his problems were fairly minimal, and could not present himself as a reliable parental resource in a reasonable time frame considering the age and needs of his young child.

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