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ACS’ Actions Reversed by Appeals Court: Mother Given Custody of Her Youngest Child

attorney for family law matters in New YorkAdanna C. had four children. She had lost custody of the oldest three. After losing custody of her three children, she successfully completed counseling and parenting courses. Recently, an appeals court made a ruling returning her infant son to her custody.

History of the Case

In 2014, Adanna C. gave birth to a son. The Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) filed a petition in the Family Court alleging derivative abuse based on an earlier injury to one of the infant’s siblings. The Family Court ruled in favor of ACS. The court found that her son would be in imminent risk of harm if left in the custody of his mother. The child was removed from her custody in May 2014.

The Appellate Court reversed the Family Court’s decision. They cited in their decision verbiage from the Court of Appeals (New York’s highest court) which stated “imminent danger, however, must be near or impending not merely possible.” Based on their interpretation of these words they found the “Family Court’s determination that remand of the subject child to his mother’s custody would place him in imminent risk of harm is based upon nothing more than speculation that the mother would not enforce the Order of Protection as against the father.”

The mother had testified in the Family Court proceeding that she didn’t live with the father and that she would uphold an Order of Protection against him. The Association for Children’s Services (ACS) had visited her in the shelter where she lived. They confirmed she lived alone. A coordinator with regard to the mother’s supervised visits with her other three children testified that she interacts with all three children and is “attentive and loving towards all of her children.” She consistently brings food and other items consistent with her resources for the children.

Conclusion

This is a case where ACS was overly aggressive taking an infant child from his mother without reasonable cause to do so.New York family law attorney

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