In re Paul O.

Connecticut Appellate Court

December 21, 2010

ORDER OF TEMPORARY CUSTODY/ADEQUACY OF EVIDENCE

In this appeal of a trial court’s order sustaining an ex-parte grant of temporary custody to DCF, the respondent mother challenged the sufficiency of the evidence underlying the trial court’s finding. The evidence indicated that on two occasions, pediatric caregivers were concerned about the mother’s presentation, her relative incoherence and her judgment regarding caring for her infant son. On one occasion in the pediatrician’s office, the mother had left the child on the examining table with her back turned and no one else in the office. On another occasion, the mother refused to remove a bracelet with sizable metal spikes on it that the medical providers determined was a safety hazard to the baby. Additionally, the pediatric providers were concerned over the mother’s inability to speak coherently regarding the child’s medical history. DCF was notified and followed up with a home visit, during which the social worker found the home dirty and in disarray. The worker also observed that the mother slept in the same bed as her child and he cautioned the mother that this posed a safety risk to the baby. DCF decided to remove the baby and seek an ex-parte OTC. Subsequently, DCF revisited the home and found that the mother had substantially cleaned it. However, the mother declined to participate in an offered DCF service that would expedite reunification and the mother herself later testified regarding her long struggle with acute mental illness. Based on the foregoing, the appellate court concluded that there was sufficient evidence to sustain the OTC.

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