January 3, 2019
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 Middlesex, Child Protection Session at Middletown, and
tried to the court, Hon. Barbara M. Quinn, judge
trial referee; judgment terminating the respondents'
parental rights, from which the respondent mother appealed to
this court. Affirmed.
Desilets, with whom was Lisa M. Vincent, for the appellant
Benjamin Zivyon, assistant attorney general, with whom, on
the brief, were George Jepsen, former attorney general, and
Rachel Catanese, legal intern, for the appellee (petitioner).
M. Grenger, with whom, on the brief, was Rosemary J. Dempsey,
for the minor child.
Lavine, Prescott and Bishop, Js.
respondent mother appeals from the judgment of the trial
court terminating her parental rights with respect to her
minor child, Bianca K. On appeal the respondent claims that the
court improperly concluded that (1) by the clear and
convincing evidence adduced at the termination hearing, she
had failed to achieve sufficient personal rehabilitation
within the meaning of General Statutes § 17a-112 (j) (3)
(B) (i), and (2) that the termination of her parental rights
was in the best interest of the child. We affirm the judgment
of the trial court.
court found the following pertinent facts: "On August
27, 2017, the [Commissioner] of Children and Families
[commissioner] . . . filed a petition for the termination of
the parental rights of [the respondent] ... to [her]
daughter, Bianca. The child was first removed from her
parents on an order of temporary custody on July 1, 2014,
when she was not yet three years old. She was returned to her
mother about a year later under an order of protective
supervision on July 30, 2015. She was removed for the second
time on March 7, 2016, when testing revealed that her mother
was still abusing illegal drugs and was generally
noncompliant with the other conditions of protective
supervision. Bianca has been in nonrelative foster care since
that time. . . .
respondent] is now twenty-eight years old and Bianca is her
only child. She also experienced a dysfunctional family
growing up, with [Department of Children and Families
(department)] involvement and time spent in relative care
during her childhood and teenage years. [The
respondent's] mother has struggled with mental health and
substance abuse issues. [The respondent's] two adult
relationships with intimate partners have involved domestic
violence and substance abuse, as well as mental health
difficulties for herself and her partners. [The department]
and the police have been involved with her at various times
since . During much of this time, she has not been
cooperative with [the department], conduct she shares with
many children who have rejected [the department] due to the
agency's involvement in their earlier lives. [The
respondent] has not only been resistant to services, but
secretive and quite misleading as to the details of her life.
respondent] began using alcohol, marijuana and cocaine as a
teenager in high school. She failed to graduate, although she
believes she did quite well. However, she has not to this
date earned her equivalency diploma. After she stopped going
to school, she continued her cocaine use. She was arrested,
convicted and incarcerated at age nineteen. After her child
was born, she did not change her drug-abusing behavior. She
broke up with the father of her child soon after Bianca's
birth and began a relationship with James P., someone she had
known since high school. Bianca sees James as her father.
James, like Bianca's biological father, has engaged in
domestic violence toward Bianca and her mother and continues
to be very heavily involved in drug abuse. He is a convicted
felon and has been incarcerated a number of times. . . .
respondent] and her child came to the attention of [the
department] early in Bianca's life. Consistent with the
policy of trying to keep families together, Bianca was not
immediately removed from [the respondent's] care, yet the
neglectful and potentially life threatening incidents did not
end. The first event occurred in 2013 when Bianca was
eighteen months old. She ingested Klonopin, which she
apparently found loose in the back of her mother's car.
[The respondent], when questioned, first denied it was her
medication but later admitted that it was. Next, there was a
police visit to the home where Bianca's grandmother
reported that she had a fight with James P. and she was
thrown to the ground, while James and [the respondent] held
her there. They were all living in her house at that time.
All three adults were reported to be intoxicated at that
time, while Bianca was in the house. Next, in July of that
year, when Bianca was not yet two, her grandmother apparently
saw James P. strike Bianca. He was arrested for his
conduct. In March, 2014, when Bianca was two and
[one-half years old], James was arrested for selling heroin
from his car, while Bianca and her mother were in the car
with him. [The respondent] admitted at that time to opiate
abuse. In June of 2014, James broke into the house and
attempted to strangle [the respondent]. . . . [I]n July,
2014, Bianca was treated for an overdose of Suboxone, her
mother's pills, which she had found and ingested. She was
very lethargic and was hospitalized. It was this last of
these many neglectful events which brought about the first
order of temporary custody and Bianca's removal from her
mother's home and chaotic drug-impacted lifestyle.
the next year, [the respondent] attended programs to which
she was referred for treatment of drug addiction, counseling,
and domestic violence. She received parenting education and
had regular visitation. As she testified [at] trial, [the
respondent] did the things she was supposed to do, and said
what she had to say in order to have Bianca returned to her