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After the New York County Family Court determined that the mother was unable to care for her child due to mental illness, and that the father had “permanently neglected” the kid, the child was transferred to the Commission of Social Services for the City of New York to be freed for adoption, an appeal ensued.

And on its review of the record, the Appellate Division, First Department, noted that a psychologist testified that the mother suffered from schizophrenia, which impacted her parental ability and posed a threat of neglect to the youngster. And in response, the mother failed to present any expert evidence to rebut the psychologist’s opinion. (The court also was found to have properly drawn a negative inference from the mother’s refusal to testify at the hearing.)

The father, on the other hand, was found to have “permanently neglected” the youngster for failing to visit, or otherwise maintain contact, with him for a one-year period after he entered foster care. While “diligent efforts” were made to provide services and support to the dad (like parenting skills class, dyadic therapy, scheduling regular visitation, assisting him with MetroCards and housing, and regularly meeting with him), he failed to cooperate nor planned for the child’s future.

As a result, the AD1 was of the view “clear and convincing evidence” supported the permanent neglect finding, and the “preponderance of the evidence” reinforced that “it was in the child's best interests to be freed for adoption.”

Apparently, they could adopt no other position there.

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Matter of K.Y.Z. (W.Z.)