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Article 6 - Part 1 - Family Court

TERMINATION OF PARENTAL CUSTODY

Section Description
611 Permanently neglected child; purpose of part.
614 Originating proceeding for the commitment of the guardianship and custody of a permanently neglected child.
616 Issuance of summons.
617 Service of summons.
622 Definition of "fact-finding hearing".
623 Definition of "dispositional hearing".
624 Evidence.
625 Sequence of hearings.
626 Adjournments.
631 Disposition on adjudication of permanent neglect.
632 Order dismissing petition.
633 Suspended judgment.
634 Commitment of guardianship and custody; further orders.
  S 611. Permanently  neglected child; purpose of part. The purpose of
  this part is to provide the  procedures  for  proceedings  initiated  in
  family  court,  pursuant  to  section three hundred eighty-four-b of the
  social services law, for the commitment of the guardianship and  custody
  of  a  child  upon  the ground that the child is a permanently neglected
  child. As used in this part "permanently  neglected  child"  shall  mean
  permanently  neglected  child as defined in subdivision seven of section
  three hundred eighty-four-b of the social services law, and  unless  the
  context requires otherwise, the provisions of such section three hundred
  eighty-four-b shall be deemed applicable requirements in addition to the
  procedures  contained  in  this  part.  All  references  in this part to
  petitions and proceedings initiated "under this part"  shall  be  deemed
  references  to  petitions  and proceedings initiated under section three
  hundred eighty-four-b of the social services law upon  the  ground  that
  the child is a permanently neglected child.

  S 614. Originating proceeding for the commitment of the guardianship
  and custody of a permanently neglected child. 1. A  proceeding  for  the
  commitment  of  the guardianship and custody of a child on the ground of
  permanent neglect is originated by a petition, alleging:
    (a) the child is a person under eighteen years of age;
    (b) the child is in the care of an authorized agency;
    (c) the authorized agency has made diligent efforts to  encourage  and
  strengthen  the parental relationship and specifying the efforts made or
  that such efforts would be detrimental to  the  best  interests  of  the
  child and specifying the reasons therefor;
    (d) the parent or custodian, notwithstanding the agency's efforts, has
  failed  for  a  period of either at least one year or fifteen out of the
  most recent twenty-two months following the date such  child  came  into
  the  care  of  an  authorized  agency  substantially and continuously or
  repeatedly to maintain contact with or plan for the future of the child,
  although physically and financially able to do so; and
    (e) the best interests of the child require that the guardianship  and
  custody of the child be committed to an authorized agency or to a foster
  parent  authorized  to  originate  this  proceeding  under  section  one
  thousand eighty-nine of this act.
    2. Where the petitioner is  not  the  authorized  agency,  allegations
  relating  to  the  efforts  of  the  authorized  agency may be made upon
  information and belief.

  S 616. Issuance  of  summons. On the filing of a petition under this
  part, the court may cause a copy of the petition and  a  summons  to  be
  issued,  requiring  the  parent  to  show cause why the court should not
  enter an order committing the guardianship and custody of the  child  to
  the petitioner for the reason that the child is permanently neglected.

  S 617. Service of summons. (a) Service of a summons and petition under
  this part shall be made by delivery of a true copy thereof to the person
  summoned  at  least  twenty  days  before  the  time  stated therein for
  appearance. If so requested  by  the  parent  or  other  person  legally
  responsible  for  the  child's  care,  the court may extend the time for
  appearance and answer.
    (b) If after reasonable effort, personal service  is  not  made,  such
  substituted  service  or service by publication as may be ordered by the
  judge shall be sufficient.
    (c) Personal service within or without  the  state  or  in  a  foreign
  country shall be made in accordance with the provisions of section three
  hundred seven of the surrogate's court procedure act, as the same may be
  amended from time to time, with respect to service of a citation.
    (d)  Service  of  the  summons  and  other  process  with  a notice as
  specified herein by publication shall be made  in  accordance  with  the
  provisions  of CPLR 316, provided, however, that a single publication of
  the summons or other process with a notice as specified herein  in  only
  one  newspaper  designated in the order shall be sufficient. In no event
  shall the whole petition be published. The petition shall  be  delivered
  to the person summoned at the first court appearance pursuant to section
  one  hundred  fifty-four-a  of  this chapter. The notice to be published
  with the summons or other process shall state:
    1. the date, time, place and purpose of the proceeding,
    2. that upon failure of the person summoned to appear, all of  his  or
  her parental rights in the child may be terminated, and
    3.  that his or her failure to appear shall constitute a denial of his
  or her interest in the child, which denial may result,  without  further
  notice,  in  the  transfer or commitment of the child's care, custody or
  guardianship or in the  child's  adoption  in  this  or  any  subsequent
  proceeding  in  which such care, custody or guardianship or adoption may
  be at issue.

  S 622. Definition of "fact-finding hearing". When used in this part,
  "fact-finding  hearing"  means  in  the  case  of  a  petition  for  the
  commitment  of  the  guardianship  and  custody of a child, a hearing to
  determine whether the allegations required by paragraphs (a), (b),  (c),
  and (d) of subdivision one of section six hundred fourteen are supported
  by clear and convincing proof.

  S 623. Definition of "dispositional hearing". When used in this part,
  "dispositional hearing" means a  hearing  to  determine  what  order  of
  disposition  should be made in accordance with the best interests of the
  child. Where the disposition ordered is the commitment  of  guardianship
  and  custody  in accordance with section six hundred thirty-four of this
  part, an initial freed  child  permanency  hearing  and  all  subsequent
  permanency  hearings  shall  be held in accordance with article ten-A of
  this act.

  S 624. Evidence. Only competent, material and relevant evidence may be
  admitted  in a fact-finding hearing; only material and relevant evidence
  may be admitted in a dispositional hearing. Evidence of parental contact
  or of failure to maintain contact with a child subsequent to the date of
  the filing of a petition under this part shall be  inadmissible  in  the
  fact-finding hearing. Such evidence may be admitted in the dispositional
  hearing  but  shall  not, of itself, be sufficient as a matter of law to
  preclude or require an order committing the guardianship and custody  of
  the child.

  S 625. Sequence of hearings. (a) Upon completion of the fact-finding
  hearing, the dispositional hearing may commence  immediately  after  the
  required  findings  are  made;  provided,  however,  that if all parties
  consent the court may, upon motion of any party or upon its own  motion,
  dispense with the dispositional hearing and make an order of disposition
  on the basis of competent evidence admitted at the fact-finding hearing.
  Where  the  disposition  ordered  is  the commitment of guardianship and
  custody in accordance with section six hundred thirty-four of this part,
  an initial freed child permanency hearing and all subsequent  permanency
  hearings shall be held in accordance with article ten-A of this act.
    (b)  Reports  prepared  by  the probation service or a duly authorized
  agency for use by  the  court  prior  to  the  making  of  an  order  of
  disposition  shall  be  deemed confidential information furnished to the
  court which the court in a proper case may, in its discretion,  withhold
  from  or  disclose in whole or in part to the child's attorney, counsel,
  party in interest, or other appropriate person. Such reports may not  be
  furnished  to  the  court  prior  to  the  completion  of a fact-finding
  hearing, but may be used in a dispositional hearing or in the making  of
  an  order  of  disposition  without  a dispositional hearing pursuant to
  subdivision (a) of this section.

  S 626. Adjournments. (a) The court may adjourn a fact-finding hearing
  or a dispositional hearing for good cause shown on its own motion or  on
  motion  made on behalf of the child, or on motion of the parent or other
  person responsible for the care of the child.
    (b) At the conclusion of a fact-finding hearing and after it has  made
  findings required before a dispositional hearing may commence, the court
  may  adjourn  the  proceedings  to  enable  it  to make inquiry into the
  surroundings, conditions, and capacities of the persons involved in  the
  proceedings.

  S 631. Disposition  on  adjudication  of  permanent  neglect. At the
  conclusion of a dispositional hearing on a petition for  the  commitment
  of  the  guardianship  and  custody of a child, the court shall enter an
  order of disposition:
    (a) dismissing  the  petition  in  accord  with  section  six  hundred
  thirty-two; or
    (b)   suspending   judgment   in   accord  with  section  six  hundred
  thirty-three; or
    (c) committing the guardianship and custody of  the  child  in  accord
  with  section  six hundred thirty-four; provided, however, that an order
  of disposition committing the guardianship and custody of the child  may
  not  be  entered after the child's eighteenth birthday, unless the child
  consents.
    An order of disposition shall  be  made,  pursuant  to  this  section,
  solely  on the basis of the best interests of the child, and there shall
  be no presumption that such interests will be promoted by any particular
  disposition.

  S 632. Order dismissing petition. (a) If the allegations of a petition
  under  this  part  are  not  established,  the  court  shall dismiss the
  petition.
    (b) If a motion or application has  been  made  in  the  course  of  a
  proceeding  under  this  part  to  reconsider  an  underlying  order  of
  placement or commitment, or upon the court's own motion on notice to all
  parties, the court retains jurisdiction to dispose  of  that  motion  or
  application regardless of whether it dismisses the petition.

  S 633. Suspended judgment. (a) Rules of court shall define permissible
  terms and conditions of a suspended judgment. These terms and conditions
  shall  relate  to  the  acts  or omissions of the parent or other person
  responsible for the care of the child.
    (b) The maximum duration of a suspended judgment under this section is
  one year, unless the court finds at the conclusion of that  period  that
  exceptional  circumstances  require  an extension of that period for one
  additional period of up to one year. Successive extensions  may  not  be
  granted.
    (c) The order of suspended judgment must set forth the duration, terms
  and  conditions  of  the  suspended  judgment,  and  must contain a date
  certain for a court review not later  than  thirty  days  prior  to  the
  expiration  of  the period of suspended judgment. The order of suspended
  judgment must also state in conspicuous print that a failure to obey the
  order may lead to its  revocation  and  to  the  issuance  of  an  order
  terminating  parental rights and committing the guardianship and custody
  of the child to an authorized agency for the  purposes  of  adoption.  A
  copy  of  the  order  of  suspended  judgment,  along  with  the current
  permanency plan, must be furnished to the respondent.
    (d) Not later than sixty days before the expiration of the  period  of
  suspended  judgment,  the petitioner shall file a report with the family
  court and all parties, including the respondent and his or her attorney,
  the child's attorney and intervenors, if any, regarding the respondent's
  compliance with the terms of suspended judgment.  The  report  shall  be
  reviewed  by  the  court on the scheduled court date. Unless a motion or
  order to show cause has been filed prior to the expiration of the period
  of suspended judgment alleging a violation or seeking  an  extension  of
  the  period  of  the suspended judgment, the terms of the disposition of
  suspended judgment shall be deemed satisfied and an order committing the
  guardianship and custody of the child shall not be entered.
    (e) If, prior to  the  expiration  of  the  period  of  the  suspended
  judgment,  a  motion  or  order  to  show  cause is filed that alleges a
  violation of the terms and conditions of the suspended judgment, or that
  seeks to extend the period of the suspended judgment for  an  additional
  period  of  up to one year, then the period of the suspended judgment is
  tolled until entry of the order that disposes of the motion or order  to
  show cause.
    (f)  Upon  finding  that  the  respondent  has  violated the terms and
  conditions of the order of suspended judgment, the court  may  enter  an
  order  revoking  the  order  of  suspended  judgment and terminating the
  parental rights of the respondent or, where such  extension  is  in  the
  best interests of the child, extend the period of suspended judgment for
  an  additional  period of up to one year, if no prior extension has been
  granted.
    (g) If an order of suspended judgment has been satisfied or  has  been
  extended, but the child nonetheless remains in foster care pursuant to a
  placement  under  article  ten  of  this  act  or  section three hundred
  fifty-eight-a of the social services law, a permanency hearing shall  be
  completed  as  previously  scheduled  pursuant  to  section one thousand
  eighty-nine of this  act,  but  no  later  than  six  months  after  the
  completion  of  the last permanency hearing. If guardianship and custody
  of the child have been transferred to  the  authorized  agency  upon  an
  order  revoking  the  order  of suspended judgment, a permanency hearing
  shall be completed pursuant to  paragraph  one  of  subdivision  (a)  of
  section  one thousand eighty-nine of this act immediately following, but
  in no event later than sixty days after,  the  earlier  of  the  court's
  statement of its order on the record or issuance of its written order.

 S 634. Commitment  of  guardianship and custody; further orders. The
  court may enter an order under section six hundred thirty-one committing
  the guardianship and custody of the child  to  the  petitioner  on  such
  conditions, if any, as it deems proper.

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