Court Cases By State - Massachusetts

Court Cases by Massachusetts

Care & Protection of Pasquale
766 N.E. 2d 564, 54 Mass. App. Ct. 1113, 2002 WL 718168 (2002)

The state Department of Social Services filed a petition alleging that three children "were in need of care and protection." The trial court held the parents unfit, and the appellate court affirmed.

The father of the children had FAS. The appellate court reasoned that the father was "a limited, well-intentioned person who loves his children, but whose cognitive limitations have made it impossible for him to understand the special needs of the children." 2002 WL 718168 at *4. The opinion describes the father's problems in some detail.

Adoption of Oliver
554 N.E. 2d 40, 28 Mass. App. Ct. 620 (Appeals Ct. 1990)

The appellate court affirmed a decision dispensing with the mother's consent to Oliver's adoption. This will permit the child's foster parents to adopt Oliver without the mother's agreement.

In reaching this conclusion, the court relied primarily on the special needs of a child, like Oliver, with FAS. The court also gave some weight to the mother's continued use of alcohol.

The description of the facts on which the diagnosis was based included the following:

"[Oliver has] some of the particular facial features of such children, retarded growth, and some neurological dysfunction. He is developmentally and mentally delayed. His psychological testing places him in the borderline retarded range."

(554 N.E. 2d at 43.)

The court described Oliver's special needs in the following passage:

"[I]t will be pivotal to Oliver's development that he live in an enriched environment with constant stimulation, by which the doctor meant that he must have sustained contact with persons willing to take an active interest in his everyday life and willing to encourage him to take responsibility for himself."

(554 N.E. 2d at 43).