Luz Maria V. v. Administration for Children’s Services
Matter of Luz Maria V.
2005 NY Slip Op 08195
Appellate Division, First Department
Published by New York State Law Reporting Bureau pursuant to Judiciary Law § 431.
This opinion is uncorrected and subject to revision before publication in the Official Reports.
Friedman, J.P., Sullivan, Nardelli, Gonzalez, Sweeny, JJ.
[*1]In re Luz Maria V., Petitioner-Respondent, Administration for Children's Services, Respondent-Respondent.
Steven Banks, Esq., Nonparty Appellant.
Steven Banks, The Legal Aid Society,
Order, Family Court, New York County (Sara Schechter, J.), entered on or about August 18, 2004, which, after a hearing, insofar as appealed from, granted petitioner maternal grandmother's petition for custody of the infant child, unanimously reversed, on the law, the facts and in the exercise of discretion, without costs, the petition denied and the subject child released for adoption.
Petitioner is the maternal grandmother of the subject child
At the hearing, petitioner testified that she is 68 years
old and resides in
The ACS caseworker testified that she observed a visit on
Pursuant to Domestic Relations Law § 72 (2)(a), a grandparent may apply for custody of a grandchild. In awarding custody as between a grandparent and a foster parent, a court must consider the totality of the circumstances of the case as they affect the best interests of the child (see Domestic Relations Law § 70 [a]). Factors to be considered include the quality of the home environment, parental guidance, financial status and ability to provide for the child as well as the ability to provide for the emotional and intellectual development of the child (see Eschbach v Eschbach, 56 NY2d 167, 172 ).
Here, the foster home where the child has been living since birth offers him stability. The social worker on this case reported that the child is "thriving" in his foster home and is treated by his foster mother "as if he were her own child." Moreover, his special needs are being addressed with various services, demonstrating the foster mother's financial ability and commitment to provide for him.
Petitioner, at the time of the hearing, was 68 years old,
and a resident of
Considering all the various factors, given petitioner's age, financial ability, residence and lack of demonstrated relationship or connection with the child, there is no question that awarding custody to her is not in the child's best interests. Given the fact that the foster home is the only home the child has known since birth, it is in his best interests to continue that stable relationship, rather than remove him to petitioner's custody. Additionally, the child's sister has lived in the foster home with him since he was born. Keeping siblings together is strongly favored (see Eschbach, 56 NY2d at 173). As we have previously noted, "as the grandmother of the subject child, [petitioner] has no preemptive statutory or constitutional right to custody surpassing that of strangers who might be selected by the Commissioner of Social Services as suitable adoptive parents" (Matter of Alma R. v Ruth M., 237 AD2d 127 , lv dismissed 90 NY2d 935 ). [*3]
Releasing this child for adoption by his foster mother, with whom he has been living since birth, is in his best interests.
M-4941 - In re Luz Maria V. v Admin. for Children's Svcs.
Motion seeking stay denied.
THIS CONSTITUTES THE DECISION AND ORDER
OF THE SUPREME COURT, APPELLATE DIVISION, FIRST DEPARTMENT.