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In re Jada M.

Superior Court of Connecticut, Judicial District of Hartford, Hartford

May 16, 2016

In re Jada M.[1] Opinion No. 133778

          Judge (with first initial, no space for Sullivan, Dorsey, and Walsh): Woods, Glenn A., J.

          MEMORANDUM OF DECISION

          Glenn Woods, J.

         Before this court is the petition for termination of parental rights of the Commissioner of the Department of Children and Families (DCF or Department) in the interest of Jada M., date of birth April 27, 2010. The child's mother is Mercedes M. and the child's father is Allen B.

         On August 20, 2015, DCF filed a petition to terminate the parental rights of the respondent parents. The parents were properly served. Father contested the petition. Mother did not express consent to the termination of her parental rights.

         On July 11, 2011, an ex parte order of temporary custody in the interest of Jada M. was granted and vested in DCF. On October 4, 2011, the child was adjudicated neglected and, on that same date, the court committed the child to the care and custody of the Department.

         The matter was tried before the court on January 28, 2016 and February 1, 2016. The respondent father appeared and was represented by counsel. The respondent mother was not represented by counsel and did not appear. Counsel had the opportunity to examine and call witnesses. The petitioner, who bears the burden of proof in this matter, introduced thirteen exhibits and called DCF social worker, William Texidor. The respondent father testified on his own behalf. The court had the opportunity to observe the appearance, demeanor, dress, attitude and general hygiene of the respondent father and observe his reactions to the evidence as presented. Further, the court closely observed the state's witness and determined the validity and credibility of his testimony.

         The court finds that it has proper jurisdiction over the matter, that there are no pending actions affecting the custody of the minor child, and the parties do not claim these proceedings implicate the Indian Child Welfare Act. The court has carefully considered the petition, all of the evidence and testimony presented, and the arguments of counsel, according to the standards required by law. On the basis of the evidence presented and the reasons stated below, the court finds in favor of the petitioner and hereby terminates the parental rights of the respective parents, Mercedes M. and Allen B.

         The court finds the following facts by clear and convincing evidence, as of the date of the petition. Practice Book § 35a-7(a).

         I

         FACTS

         A

         Procedural History

         On July 7, 2011, an Administrative 96-hour hold was issued on behalf of Jada M. Further, on July 7, 2011, a Motion for an Order of Temporary Custody along with a Petition of Neglect was filed on behalf of Jada M. On October 4, 2011, the court adjudicated the minor child neglected and entered an order of commitment to DCF and specific steps for Mercedes M.

         An initial permanency plan hearing was held on August 21, 2012. A subsequent hearing on the permanency plan was held on October 25, 2012. On October 25, 2012, the court approved a permanency plan of termination of parental rights and adoption for Jada M.

         On October 28, 2012, the Termination of Parental Rights petition was filed on behalf of Jada M. and on October 10, 2013, the court approved a permanency plan of termination of parental rights and adoption of Jada M.

         On October 17, 2013, the court ordered suspension of any visits between Mercedes M. and Jada M.

         On August 19, 2014, the court approved and ordered a permanency plan of transfer of guardianship of Jada M. to his paternal aunt.

         On June 25, 2015, the court approved a permanency plan of transfer of parental rights and adoption of Jada M.

         On August 20, 2015, the petitioner, the Commissioner of the Department of Children and Families, filed a petition for the termination of parental rights of Jada M., alleging abandonment and failure to rehabilitate by the respondent parents.

         On September 17, 2015, the court entered an order of default against Mercedes M. on the petition for termination of parental rights. On October 13, 2015, a military affidavit as to the mother, Mercedes M., was submitted and an order of default was again entered against the mother.

         B

         Mother

         Mercedes M. was born in Hartford, Connecticut on December 1, 1983. She does not have a very healthy relationship with her mother and is not in communication with her father. She has nine siblings with whom relationships are strained.

         Mercedes M. and her siblings were raised by her maternal grandmother due to her mother's substance abuse and multiple incarcerations. Mercedes M. stated that she did not receive what she needed physically or mentally from her maternal grandmother.

         Mercedes M. left high school in the tenth grade. She is currently unemployed. She has worked as a recruiter for a dental clinic, a beautician, and a peer counselor; she has also worked at a daycare center, Pretzel Time, Dick's Sporting Goods, Kelly Services temporary agency and possibly as an exotic dancer. She does not receive any state assistance and has no means of income at this time. She is currently looking for employment.

         Mercedes M. has never married. She has had a number of relationships which have resulted in the birth of her children. Mother has given birth to seven children:

         Her first child, Trayleek M., whose father is Marco R., was born August 31, 2000. Her second child, Sincere M., whose father is Kevin C., was born January 15, 2003. Her third child, Sole M., whose father is Chan W., was born February 27, 2005. Her fourth child, Amealyon M., whose father is Juan C., was born July 29, 2008. Her fifth child, Jada M., whose father is Allen B., was born April 27, 2012. Her sixth child, Londynn, whose father is Quincc C., was born May 9, 2011. Her seventh child, DeShawn R., whose father is Dashawn R., was born March 17, 2014.

         All of Mother's children, including Jada M., have been committed to the care and custody of DCF.

         Mother continues to have concerns of substance abuse, mental health instability and anger management. She has previously contacted DCF, in a fit of rage, demanding that her children be removed from her care because she was unable to manage raising six children.

         At trial, William Texidor, the DCF social worker assigned to this case since August 8, 2014, testified that Mother has not visited Jada since Mr. Texidor started working on this case, nor has she made any efforts to do so. Mr. Texidor further testified that he does not know of Mother's present whereabouts.

         C

         Father

         Allen B. was born on November 5, 1972, and is originally from New York. Allen B. reports that he met Mercedes M. at a club. At trial he testified that he was never in a relationship with Mother. Six months after their original meeting, Mother informed Allen B. that she was pregnant.

         At trial, Allen B. testified that a paternity test taken in late 2012 or early 2013 established that he was the father of Jada M.

         Allen B. has been incarcerated since 2009 on drug changes. He was released from jail on November 2, 2015, to a halfway house in Hartford where he currently resides. He testified at trial that he is to be released from the halfway house by April 4, 2016.

         While incarcerated, Father took a number of courses to improve himself. At trial he entered several certificates of achievement into evidence demonstrating courses he has completed. Currently, Allen B. is employed as a car salesman.

         Father testified that he would like Jada M. to live with him and his fiancé . Father's fiancé works in the pediatric section at a hospital and has a three-year-old child.

         D

         Child

         Jada M. was born on April 27, 2010, to Mercedes M. and Allen B. in Hartford, Connecticut. Since birth, Jada M. has experienced four different placements.

         Upon entering care, Jada M. was placed with his maternal aunt, Latoya M. She had difficulty meeting the needs of Jada M. and three of his siblings and asked for their removal. Jada M. then resided in a licensed foster home from December 1, 2011 to November 7, 2013. On November 7, 2013, Jada M. was placed with his paternal aunt, Ledwayna B. On February 15, 2015, as a result of allegations of physical abuse, Jada M. was removed from paternal aunt's care and placed in the foster home where he currently resides.

         Jada M. can be very serious, but he has a warm smile. He enjoys engaging in sports activities, playing with action ...


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