In Re: Omayra; In Re: Andrew; In Re: Danny
To terminate parental rights, the Department of Children and Families may be required to prove it referred individuals with cognitive restrictions for special services. Allegedly, the oldest child engaged in inappropriate touching of another child at school and digital penetration. The respondent mother allegedly admitted that she discovered the 10-year-old girl and the 6-year-old boy naked, on top of each other, and that the girl said that there had been penetration. The mother admitted that she had porn videos and claimed that she kept them away from the minor children. The father was in prison for driving under the influence. In 2009, a court adjudicated the minor children as neglected. In 2010, a court approved the department's plans to reunify the parents and children. In 2011, a court approved the department's plans to terminate parental rights. After the department moved to terminate the rights of the biological parents on the grounds of failure to rehabilitate, the parents filed appearances. In 2012, the attorney for the oldest child objected to the department's motion to terminate the parents' rights. Evidence existed that the minor children possess strong emotional ties with the respondent mother, who has maintained regular contact. A social worker claimed that the mother "would walk through a wall if it meant getting her kids back." The oldest child experiences "meltdowns," if the mother does not call when expected. The mother, 33, collects Social Security disability income and has an IQ of 62. The father, 52, has an IQ of 53. The court found that the department failed to prove, by clear and convincing evidence, it made reasonable efforts to reunify the parents with the minor children. Because the parents experience cognitive restrictions, and specific services exist for individuals with such restrictions, it is reasonable for the department to refer them for such services, as part of reasonable efforts at reunification. Termination of the rights of the biological parents is not in the best interests of the minor children. The court sustained the objection of the attorney for the oldest child and denied the department's petition to terminate the parents' rights.