by Carol Thompson
The Oswego County Department of Social Services has won another appeal in an effort to overturn a decision made by Oswego County Family Court Judge Kim Seager.
The county commenced a neglect proceeding against a father and sought emergency removal of the children, Austin M. and Anna M.
Following a hearing, the Family Court granted the application with respect to Austin but not to Anna. The court also granted the father unsupervised visitation with Austin.
“Initially, we note that it appears that the court applied a best interests analysis only and did not first make a determination whether the children were at imminent risk of harm, as required by the statute,” the court decision, dated July 6, states. “The court (Seager) removed Austin from the father’s home upon determining that it was in Austin’s best interests to allow the father time to engage in necessary anger management services.”
The appeals court agreed with DSS that there was a sound and substantial basis in the record for a determination that Austin was at imminent risk of harm.
“The evidence at the hearing was overwhelming that the father slapped Austin in the face with an open hand with such significant force that the child had marks on his face the next morning,” court papers state.
“The court’s finding that it was not clear who caused the injury to Austin is not supported by the record,” it continues.
“The medical testimony established that an adult caused the injury to the child, and thus only the father or his girlfriend could have caused the injury inasmuch as they were the only two adults who were with the child during the relevant time period.”
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