In re Karl J.

Appellate Court

September 2, 2008

Abuse and Neglect/Guardianship/Motion to revoke

This case is an appeal from the judgment of the trial court awarding custody and guardianship of Karl J. to the child’s paternal aunt and uncle. At issue was whether the court abused its discretion in determining that it was in the best interests of the child to remain in the care and custody of his paternal aunt and uncle. Finding no abuse of discretion, the appellate court affirmed the judgment of the trial court.

The respondent in this case is the biological mother of Karl J. In October 2000, the child was removed from his home on a 96-hour hold following a report that he was left unsupervised for extended periods of time. The court granted an order for temporary custody, adjudicated the child neglected, and placed him in the custody and guardianship of his biological father under an order of protective supervision. On March 22, 2001, the court vacated the order of protective supervision. In August 2001, the father learned that Karl J. had been sexually abused by a family member, and moved him to his paternal aunt and uncle’s home in Florida. On December 7, 2004, the respondent filed an application for reinstatement of guardianship, which was eventually consolidated with the father’s petition to transfer custody and guardianship to the paternal aunt and uncle. Following a seven-day trial, the court denied the respondent’s motion for reinstatement and granted the father’s petition to transfer custody and guardianship.

After reviewing the record, the appellate court found ample evidence to support the trial court’s finding that it was in the best interest of the child to remain with his aunt and uncle. The evidence before the court-which included testimony from a licensed clinical psychologist who evaluated the respondent, the child’s mental health therapist and guardian ad litem, and a mental health specialist who evaluated the child-showed that while in the care and custody of his aunt and uncle, Karl J. had made significant improvements in his emotional, psychological, and physical well-being. The child had bonded with his aunt and uncle, had made significant improvements in speech, behavior and in dealing with his reactive attachment disorder, and had adamantly expressed a desire to remain in Florida with them. Testimony from the aunt revealed that she quit her job to care for the child on a full-time basis. For these reasons, the judgment of the trial court was affirmed.

The case may be accessed by going to the Judicial Branch website athttp://www.jud.state.ct.us/external/supapp/Cases/AROap/AP110/110AP458.pdf

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