In re Christopher L

134 Conn. App.

April 17, 2012

Child Welfare Pleading Requirements

In this termination of parental rights appeal, the respondent contended that the trial court erred by 1) granting termination when respondent’s petition, originally filed, failed to state this claim; 2) concluding that reasonable efforts at reunification were made, 3) concluding that respondent failed to achieve sufficient personal rehabilitation. The appellate court affirmed the judgment.

The mother became involved with DCF after she got into several car accidents while drinking and driving and transporting her child.  Respondent had ongoing substance abuse issues for which she was repeatedly incarcerated. The court stated that the respondent mother did not raise the “failure to plead reasonable efforts” issue at the appropriate time during the first trial and thus could not raise it on appeal. Additionally, the respondent noted that DCF did not provide her with services to address the trauma in her life and therefore did not actually provide reasonable efforts.  However the appellate court agreed that the record demonstrated sufficient services were offered for substance abuse, reunification, mental health, family counseling and case management services. Lastly, the appellate court held that while respondent benefited from the services offered to her, she continues to drive with her son while intoxicated and could not maintain sobriety. The court psychologist also noted that the respondent’s personal history suggested that she would not be able to rehabilitate in sufficient time to parent her son.

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