May 17, 2021

IN RE SKYLAR B. (AC 43916)
TPR, Constitutional Claim, Motion for Alternative Disposition

Father appealed from the judgment terminating his parental rights. On appeal, Father claimed that the court deprived him of his right to substantive due process because transfer of guardianship to the child’s relative foster parents would have been a less restrictive means than termination of his parental rights to achieve permanency.

The Appellate Court declined to review Father’s unpreserved constitutional claim because the record was inadequate for review under the first prong of State v. Golding (213 Conn. 233), namely, Father failed to file a motion to modify disposition and/or transfer guardianship to the relative foster parents.  As such, neither the trial court, DCF, nor the child and the proposed guardians, whose lives would have been most affected by whether Father’s parental rights remained intact, were on notice at the outset of the TPR trial that he would be arguing for an alternative disposition.  Rather, only a proper motion of such an alternative disposition serves to provide the requisite notice to all interested parties and the court, and the evidence that is particularly relevant to a disposition of a transfer of guardianship, as opposed to a TPR and adoption.