February 16, 2017

169 Conn.App. 708

9 December 2016

Termination of Parental Rights, Rehabilitation

The Mother appealed from Superior Court, judicial district of Middlesex, Child Protection Session at Middletown, which terminated her parental rights.  Lilyana had been born with drugs in her system and DCF was contacted after the mother claimed that she was going to remove Lilyana from the hospital against doctors wishes.  A litany of drug related offenses and consequences were cited in the TPR.  She appealed on the grounds that DCF had not proven by clear and convincing evidence that her daughter was neglected and that the mother had failed to rehabilitate herself.  Additionally, she claimed that the substantive due process rights were violated because she was recovering from a medical condition that prevented her rehabilitation. 

She argued that the trial court based its determination of TPR on obsolete information because she no longer attended a pain clinic.  The appellate court rejected this claim while citing In re Leilah W. which illuminates the conditions for rehabilitation: restoration of former constructive role as a parent within a reasonable time and gaining the ability to care for the particular needs of the child.  That case also states that it is improper to disturb the trial courts decision unless it is clearly erroneous.  Because the mother’s claim is based on one factor, her discharge from a pain clinic, it does not fully address her rehabilitative state.  She failed to address the full complement of concerns of her drug abuse which included a “failure to acknowledge the underlying personal issues that form the basis for the department’s concerns.”  

The second claim of a violation of her substantive due process rights was simply a repetition of the first claim with the addition of the statement that it “should shock the conscience that the trial court would not give [the respondent] additional time to further progress so that she could care for her daughter.”  The mother neither cited case law nor provided any substantive detail to support her claim that her substantive due process rights had been violated.  The court’s determination that she failed to rehabilitate was in accordance with case law, legal principles, and did not “shock the conscience”.  The judgment from the trial court is affirmed.