In re Marcus.

Connecticut Appellate Court

April 27, 2010

TRANSFER OF GUARDIANSHIP. MOTION FOR CONTEMPT.

In this transfer of guardianship case, the appellate court affirmed the trial court’s denial of the father’s motion to hold the Department in contempt for failing to make service referrals and for failing to develop a permanency plan that supported reunification. The appellate court agreed with the respondent father that the court-ordered Specific Steps 3 and 4 (“develop a periodic treatment/permanency plan and review it with the respondent … and refer the respondent to appropriate services and monitor his progress”) were sufficiently clear and unambiguous as to put the Department on notice that it must make some service referrals to support a reunification plan. However, the court also found that the trial court record supported the finding that the Department had made numerous efforts to work with the father regarding service engagement and that the respondent father failed to comply with service suggestions.

The appellate court also rejected the respondent father’s claim that the trial court improperly granted guardianship to Marcus’s grandparents. The appellate court agreed with the respondent that there did not appear to be an ongoing basis for maintaining Marcus’s commitment to the Department. However, the court noted the ample evidence in the record that it was in Marcus’s best interests to remain with his grandparents: he was bonded with them, he felt “at home” with his grandparents, the father had no plans as to how to provide for Marcus’s care, and the father had regular visitation with Marcus at the grandparents’ home.

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