November 26, 2018
by the Commissioner of Children and Families to terminate the
respondents' parental rights with respect to their minor
child, brought to the Superior Court in the judicial district
of New London, Juvenile Matters at Waterford, where the case
was tried to the court, Driscoll, J.; judgment
terminating the respondents' parental rights, from which
the respondent mother appealed to this court.
M., self-represented, the appellant (respondent mother).
N. Swallen, assistant attorney general, with whom, on the
brief, were George Jepsen, former attorney general, and
Benjamin Zivyon, assistant attorney general, for the appellee
Park, for the minor child.
Prescott, Elgo and Bear, Js.
self-represented respondent mother appeals from the judgment
of the trial court terminating her parental rights as to
Angelina M., her minor child. She contends that the court
improperly concluded that (1) she failed to achieve the
requisite degree of personal rehabilitation required by
General Statutes § 17a-112 and (2) termination of her
parental rights was in the best interest of the
child. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.
prevail on a nonconsensual termination of parental rights,
the petitioner, the Commissioner of Children and Families,
must prove, by clear and convincing evidence, one of the
seven statutory grounds for termination. See General
Statutes § 17a-112 (j) (3). In the present case, the
petitioner principally alleged, and the court ultimately
concluded, that the respondent failed to achieve a sufficient
degree of personal rehabilitation pursuant to § 17a-112
(j) (3) (B). On appeal, that ultimate conclusion
presents a question of evidentiary sufficiency. See
In re Shane M., 318 Conn. 569, 587-88, 122 A.3d 1247
(2015). On our careful review of the record, construing the
evidence submitted at trial in a manner most favorable to
sustaining the judgment; see id., 588; we conclude
that the cumulative effect of that evidence was sufficient to
justify the court's determination that the respondent had
failed to achieve a sufficient degree of personal
rehabilitation that would encourage the belief that, within a
reasonable time frame, she could assume a responsible
position in the life of the child.
further conclude that the court's finding that
termination of the respondent's parental rights was in
the best interest of the child is not clearly erroneous. See
In re Brayden E.-H., 309 Conn. 642, 657, 72 A.3d
1083 (2013). The court expressly considered and made specific
findings with respect to each of the seven factors delineated
in § 17a-112 (k). Of particular significance, the court
found that Angelina ‘‘has no attachment''
to the respondent and ‘‘is attached fully with
her foster parents, '' that the respondent had not
made an ‘‘effective effort to improve [her]
rehabilitative circumstances, '' that
‘‘ongoing contact [with the respondent] would be
detrimental to and confusing to the child, '' and
that the respondent cannot provide ‘‘a permanent,
nurturing, emotionally and physically supportive and stable
home'' to Angelina. Those findings are substantiated
by evidence in the record before us, including the testimony
of the respondent's individual therapist, Trinette
Conover, the respondent's ‘‘parenting
education/supervised visitation provider, '' Sarah
Laisi Lavoie, and Kelly Rogers, an expert in clinical and
forensic psychology. Because there is ample supporting
evidence in the record, and this court is not left with a
definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been made;
see In re Elijah G.-R., 167 Conn.App. 1, 29-30, 142
A.3d 482 (2016); the court's finding that termination of
the respondent's parental rights was in the best interest
of the child is not clearly erroneous.
judgment is affirmed.