One couple hopes to regain legal custody of their two children from the Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF). Legal battles and psychiatric evaluations have barred them from seeing their children for nearly three years. Connecticut Family Lawyer
The two children, ages 5 and 6, have not seen their parents since September 2008. They have been in state custody since they were born in 2005 and 2006. When they could see them, the parents were only given visitation rights with their children for two hours a day, two days a week. They have never been able to see their children for more than four hours per week.
In and out of court, the parents have struggled in their endeavor. A judge in 2007 ruled that the state would retain its physical custody over the two boys. The judge cited predictive neglect as the reasoning behind the ruling. Connecticut’s legal system uses predictive neglect to save children from future neglect or abuse. If a parent has a history of violence or mental instability, for example, courts use predictive neglect legislation to prevent any future harm.
In this case, the mental condition of both parents has been questioned. Psychiatric evaluations of the mother have varied. Some show that she is capable of raising her children, others have shown otherwise. When the children were removed from the couple, the mother was already entangled in a case regarding the removal of another child. This child was not shared with the father of the two toddlers concerned in this case.
The mother suffered a seizure when she was 16 and a subsequent brain scan found a tumor. It was removed and she has been attending neurological appointments for the two decades since the surgery. According to reports, the woman’s brain scan results have come back normal ever since her surgery. However, the woman said a psychiatrist that DCF officials instructed her to see determined that she was not fit to raise a child.
The couple has been trying to challenge the claims of neglect. The children’s father has questioned whether his girlfriend’s psychotherapy sessions were enough to be considered a “reasonable effort” to reunite the children with their parents, which he says the state is required to do. The couple is planning to file lawsuits against the DCF for not allowing them due process in the case.
Source: Thomaston Express, “Parents separated from children for years want them back,” Amy Kenney, 8 July 2011