IN RE GABRIELLA C.-G. ET AL.[*]
November 13, 2018 [**]
by the Commissioner of Children and Families to terminate the
respondents' parental rights with respect to their minor
children, brought to the Superior Court in the judicial
district of New London, Juvenile Matters at Waterford, and
tried to the court, Driscoll, J.; judgments
terminating the respondents' parental rights, from which
the respondent mother appealed to this court.
Kirsten F., self-represented, the appellant (respondent
Stephen G. Vitelli, assistant attorney general, with whom, on
the brief, were George Jepsen, attorney general, and Benjamin
Zivyon, assistant attorney general, for the appellee
Priscilla Hammond, for the minor child Dallas C.
Ziolkowski, for the minor child Gabriella C.-G. et al.
D. Catania, for the father Brandon M.
DiPentima, C.J., and Alvord and Flynn, Js.
respondent mother, Kirsten F., appeals from the judgments of
the trial court rendered in favor of the petitioner, the
Commissioner of Children and Families, terminating her
parental rights with respect to her five minor children,
Gabriella, Mason, Dallas, Lillyana and Zuri. She claims on
appeal that the court erred in (1) violating her
constitutional rights by holding her to
‘‘unlawful, vague, high standards of care,
compared to all the other parties . . . associated with the
care and keeping'' of the five children, (2) denying
‘‘the right to a comparison of the foster parents
. . . and [the Department of Children and Families (the
department)] provided level of care that she was held to,
'' including not allowing an injury report from the
Office of the Child Advocate as to Dallas, (3) finding that
the department made ‘‘reasonable
efforts'' to reunify her with any of her five
children, (4) making the statement, ‘‘this family
can't and won't benefit from reunification'';
(internal quotation marks omitted); and (5) stating that
‘‘it's in the best interest'';
(internal quotation marks omitted); of the five minor
children for her to lose her parental rights.
April 13, 2018, after hearing from seventeen witnesses and
considering seventy exhibits over six days, the court
ordered, inter alia, the termination of the parental rights
of the respondent mother, stating: ‘‘Wherefore,
after due consideration of the children's need for a
secure, permanent placement, and the totality of the
circumstances, and having considered all statutory criteria,
and having found by clear and convincing evidence that
reasonable efforts at reunification with [the parents] were
made and that each was unwilling or unable to benefit from
those efforts, and that grounds exist to terminate [the
respondent]'s . . . parental rights for a failure to
rehabilitate as alleged . . . it is in the children's
best interest to do so . . . .''
the applicable standard of review of the adjudicatory ground
of failure to rehabilitate, we must determine
‘‘whether the trial court could have reasonably
concluded, upon the facts established and the reasonable
inferences drawn therefrom, that the cumulative effect of the
evidence was sufficient to justify its [ultimate conclusion].
. . . When applying this standard, we construe the evidence
in a manner most favorable to sustaining the judgment of the
trial court.'' (Internal quotation marks omitted.)
In re Egypt E., 327 Conn. 506, 526, 175 A.3d 21,
cert. denied sub nom. Morsy E. v. Commissioner, Dept. of
Children & Families, __U.S.__, 139 S.Ct. 88,
__L.Ed.2d __(2018). ‘‘It is well settled that we
will overturn the trial court's decision that the
termination of parental rights is in the best interest of the
[child] only if the court's findings are clearly
erroneous.'' In re Athena C., 181 Conn.App.
803, 811, 186 A.3d 1198, cert. denied, 329 Conn. 911, 186
A.3d 14 (2018).
reviewed the findings of the court as set forth in its
thoughtful and thorough decision, we conclude that under the
applicable standards of review, they are ...