Lower Court Gets Reversed for Prohibiting a Homeless Woman From Getting Pregnant in an Article 10 Proceeding

http://do-while.com/the-8-most-unusual-pregnancy-and-post-pregnancy-facts/In a 2007 case, the Matter of Bobbijean P v. Stephanie P., the Appellate Division, for the Fourth Department vacated a lower court order prohibiting Stephanie P. from becoming pregnant in an Article 10 neglect proceeding.  In that case, a child was born to parents who were both homeless and addicted to crack cocaine. The parents at this point already had three children who were in foster care. In what is normally called an “afterborn” case, the newborn was removed from the parents and placed with relatives under supervision of the Child Protective Agency (DHS) in Rochester, NY. Although the parents initially appeared on the case, they later failed to plan for the child and so the Family Court found the parents to have neglected their child.  In the dispositional plan, the court ordered that the mother not get pregnant again until and unless she has actually obtained custody and care of her child and every other child of hers who is in foster care and has not been adopted or institutionalized. The Family Court stated that her right to have children was outweighed by society’s right not to have to support her children.

Did the lower court get it right? Do courts have the power to stop people from procreating?  I believe that this case raised fundamental issues of personal liberty and governmental intrusion on that liberty.

The Fourth Department reversed the lower court and found that it did not have the authority to impose such a condition because the only power the Court actually had was that conferred to it by statute – and the statute did not explicitly nor impliedly authorize prohibiting procreation.… <Read More>

Keeping Families Together & Paying Less To Do So

We have all heard of a sad story that goes something like this: a mother makes a bad choice and is now charged with a felony and her innocent children are faced with being placed in foster care and all that comes along with it. Now, imagine an alternative. Imagine a situation where this mother serves her sentence – while keeping her family intact.

In 2008, the Brooklyn District Attorneys office created a family incarceration program in order to provide an alternative for these mothers who would otherwise be incarcerated and separated from their children. Instead, these women have the opportunity to serve their sentences in their own apartment at Drew House with their children while being monitored and fulfilling the Court’s mandates.

The women at Drew House are homeless mothers who have committed crimes ranging from drug possession to assault. The New York Times recently published an article highlighting Drew House and the stories of some of its women. One such woman, Ms. Urquidez, is a 36-year old victim of domestic violence battling bipolar disorder who was charged with burglary in 2009. Drew House helped her turn her life around. Since entering the program she has overcome her drug addiction, learned how to cope with bipolar disorder, has a restraining order against her sons’ father, and has completed her court mandate to take part in the Drew House program. Ms. Urquidez is beyond grateful for the program and credits the program for providing her two sons with stability claiming, “They’re living life how a kid is supposed to live”.… <Read More>

“After-conceived” child – Child? or Not?

“We, nonetheless, cannot help but observe that this is, indeed, a new world”. Judge Barry, writing for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, got it right.

Here is the story: Robert and Karen Capato were married in New Jersey in 1999 and like most couples imagined a happily ever after filled with kids and a pretty home. Soon after, Mr. Capato was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. The couple, fearing that the chemo and cancer treatments would affect his ability to have kids, decided that they would freeze Mr. Capato’s sperm so that in vitro would always be an option. In 2001, despite what Mr. Capato was going through, he and his wife conceived naturally and had a son. They wanted more kids, but never had the chance to have any more together because in 2002, Mr. Capato sadly lost his battle against cancer. After her husbands death, Karen Capato put the frozen sperm to use and gave birth to twin boys in 2003.… <Read More>