Court Cases By State - Connecticut

Court Cases by Connecticut

In re Halle T.
2004 WL 1788730 (Conn. Super. 2004)

The court terminated the parental rights of father and mother of child with FAS who was neglected. Mother had lengthy criminal record, was currently incarcerated, had a history of substance and alcohol abuse and was disinterested in reunifying with her daughter. The father was interested in reunifying but also had history of alcohol abuse. The court found that he did not fully understand child’s medical condition or understand the complex physical and mental challenges associated with the child’s present and future care. He lacked the awareness and insight necessary to accommodate and meet her complex needs.

In The Interests of Alicia R.
1998 WL 855512 (Conn. Super.)

Court approves termination of the parental rights of the mother, who has FAS.

The mother at age 37 possessed "the distinctive facial abnormalities of the disorder," as well as "congenital neuro-cognitive impairment in her ability to organize events and its impact on the higher cognitive functions such as anticipating and making connections between events."

The mother had since the age of 16 been receiving SSI benefits. "Because of her condition and abilities, [the mother] has only had marginal employment on an intermittent basis during her life." (*1).

There was evidence of a number of incidents of sexual and other abuse of the child involved.

In The Interest of Jonathan M.
1998 WL 764142 (Conn. Super.)

This was an action to terminate the paternal rights of Stacie M. in her son Jonathan. The mother had FAS; the court relied on her difficulties in deciding to terminate her rights.

The opinion contains a detailed description of the effect of FAS on children:

"Studies have shown that such children not only have a variety of cognitive difficulties, but also suffer from social deficits as well. One study found that 'they were stubborn, hard to discipline and have extreme difficulty in respecting their own and other people's boundaries. [They] inappropriately sought affection and demanded attention and were overly tactile with other people.' By the time they reach adolescence, 'lack of judgment, poor decision-making, high frustration, impulsivity, and difficulty in perceiving social cues rendered these children at high risk for aggressive behavior and of being co-opted by negative role models.'"

1998 WL 764142 at *2. The quotations are from Wiley Karr-Morse,  Ghosts from the Nursery (1997).

The mother's behavioral problems are described in this opinion and in In re  Dalilah Rose N., 1996 WL 745838 (Ct. Super.).

In re Valerie D.
223 Conn. 492, 613 A. 2d 748 (1992)

A state agency sought to terminate the parental rights of a mother because she had used cocaine shortly before giving birth. The state Supreme Court holds that Connecticut law does not authorize termination of parental rights ont hat basis.

The state's argument was that prenatal use of cocaine fell within the statute authorizing termination of parental rights for causing "serious physical injury" to the child. The state conceded that on its interpretation of state law termination of parental rights would be warranted if a mother drank alcohol.

"[A]s [the state] conceded in oral argument in this court, the same reading of [the state statute] that the [state] would have us adopt would permit the [state] to seek termination of the parental rights of a mother who drank alcohol excessively during her pregnancy and delivered a baby suffering from fetal alcohol syndrome. . . . [S]uch prenatal conduct is harmful to the fetus in the womb and the child upon its birth. . . . [W]e do not believe that the legislature intended the statute as currently drafted to have such sweeping consequences."

223 Conn. at 525

In re Zaire T.
2001 WL 360046 (Conn. Super.)

Court orders the termination of the parental rights of both the mother and father of Zaire. A central ground for the decision is the court's finding that the parents will be unable to meet the special needs of the child, who  may have FAS. 2001 WL 360046 at * 6 (at birth child had "signs of fetal alcohol syndrome"), *15 (child "shows the possibility of fetal alcohol syndrome.")