March 29, 2022

In re Lucia C. / In re Christian C. et al.  (March 2022; AC 44807 / 44809)

Father appealed from the judgments of the trial court terminating his parental rights with respect to his three minor children. Although the children’s mother lived with Father and the children, he had been the children’s primary caregiver. After his conviction of sexual assault of a five year old child, for which he was sentenced to twenty-five years of incarceration, the children remained in the care and custody of Mother, who suffered from significant mental health issues. DCF thereafter began to receive reports that the children were abused, neglected, inadequately supervised and had inadequate shelter in their mother’s care. DCF ultimately filed petitions for the termination of the parental rights of the father and the mother as to the three children. Mother consented to the termination of her parental rights.

The Appeals Court here held that the trial court correctly concluded that, in accordance with the applicable statute (§ 17a-112 (j) (3) (C)), Father had denied his children, by an act or acts of commission or omission, the care, guidance, or control necessary for their physical, educational, moral, or emotional well-being: as a result of Father’s criminal action and prolonged incarceration, he left his children to be abused, neglected and without adequate shelter in the custody of Mother,  Moreover, following Father’s incarceration, each child suffered from mental health and behavioral issues, which required them to receive therapy and support services and to be medicated, two of them were hospitalized and received psychiatric treatment. 

Accordingly, the Appeals Court here reasonably determined that the cumulative effect of the evidence justified its conclusion that Father’s prolonged incarceration caused his children to be neglected by Mother and, in turn, deprived them of the care, guidance, or control necessary for their well-being.

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