It would clearly be inappropriate for a comparison of the foster parents' resources with those of the biological parents, by itself, to affect a court's decision regarding whether termination was in a child's best interest. The Department of Children and Families received a referral from the hospital shortly after H's birth in 2009. The respondent father reported that he was unemployed, used marijuana and benzodiazepines, received substance abuse services, and lacked stable housing. H's parents failed to follow the hospital's safety protocol. By agreement, the court granted the commissioner's motion for an order of temporary custody and entered specific steps. In 2011, H was adjudicated neglected and committed to the commissioner's custody. H's counsel, Gloria Harris, petitioned to terminate the parents' rights to H pursuant to C.G.S. §17a-112. The court granted the petition. The respondent father, Joseph P., appealed raising multiple claims. The Appellate Court affirmed the judgment. The court's finding that the department made reasonable efforts to reunify the respondent with H was not clearly erroneous. Although the department did not follow through with every recommendation made by the court appointed psychologist, it offered multiple services to the respondent. Because the reunification efforts finding was properly made, the respondent's claim was not reached that the court improperly concluded that the respondent was unable or unwilling to benefit from such services. The court did not err in concluding that despite progress, the respondent achieved an insufficient degree of rehabilitation. The determination was not based solely on the respondent's inability to maintain or afford adequate housing. The court also concluded that although critical for the respondent to continue individual counseling, he was unsuccessfully discharged for noncompliance. Uncertain income was not dispositive, but, factored in the overall analysis about whether the respondent showed sufficient responsibility to pay for his own needs, let alone H's needs. The court did not hold that H was "better off" with the foster parents. The finding that termination was in H's best interest was not clearly erroneous. Review was declined for an unpreserved claim that terminating the respondent's parental rights based on indigence violated his equal protection and due process rights. Extraordinary review was not requested and the claim mischaracterized the court's decision.

VIEW FULL CASE