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Mental illness diagnosis alone does not constitute neglect court says

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In a ruling affirming a decision by Kings County Family Court Judge, Susan S. Danoff, and denying an appeal by New York City's Administration for Children's Services, the Second Judicial Department of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of the State of New York said in essence that a mental illness diagnosis does not by itself constitute neglect on the part of a parent. In this case, the mother was diagnosed with bipolar disorder before the births of two children. ACS brought a petition of neglect against her based on that diagnosis. Judge Danoff denied the petition, ACS appealed.

Quoting from case law, the appellate court said in its decision released yesterday, "A finding of neglect may be predicated upon proof that a child's physical, mental, or emotional condition is in imminent danger of becoming impaired as a result of a parent's mental illness." ACS, said the court failed to prove by a preponderance of evidence "the existence of a causal connection between the mother's bipolar disorder and actual or potential harm" to her children.

The entire decision can be read here.

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