Tag Archives: Judge Kim Seager

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Legislators receive update from Family Court Judge Kim Seager

by Carol Thompson

Following numerous complaints in regard to Oswego County Family Court decisions rendered by Judge Kim Seager, members of the Oswego County Legislature received a letter from Seager as to the status of Oswego County Child Welfare Court Collaborative.

“As you know, Oswego County was identified as one of 17 counties in New York State that failed to meet Federally-mandated guidelines,” the letter, dated Sept. 24 states.

“As a result, the Collaborative was formed in early 2010 as part of a statewide initiative to develop and implement best practices and system change in order to improve outcomes for children and families involved in abuse and neglect proceedings,” the letter continues. “However, without all necessary partners represented at the Collaborative table, ethically I am unable to convene these meetings and we have been informed by the State that Oswego County will no longer have an opportunity to participate in this initiative.”

The letter continues, “As this time (sic), I want to thank each and every one of you for your commitment, time and hard work towards improving permanency for children. Due to your participation, the Collaborative was able to develop a Mission Statement, identify goals and tasks to be work on by four subcommittees to accomplish the stated mission, offer monthly court-based training through a lunch-n-learn program as regional training provided by the Court Improvement Project, improve the court process through problems identified after completion of two court surveys, discuss and resolve legal issues, and provide improved multi-system collaboration through focus groups.”

Seager concluded, “I want to assure you that the Court will continue to work internally to improve legal processing of child welfare matters to improve outcomes for the children in Oswego County.”

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DSS wins another appeal against Family Court decision

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.”

To read the rest of the story, subscribe to The Valley News by calling 315-598-6397

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Additional problems with Family Court judge surface

by Carol Thompson

A closed door meeting was held between county officials and staff of Oswego County Family Court Judge Kim Seager as CNY Central revealed more allegations of a questionable child placement Thursday.

On May 28, 19-year-old Melissa Nichols was charged with child endangerment after she allegedly left her three-year-old daughter unattended for up to 10 minutes.

According to court documents, Nichols’s daughter was able to leave the home at 297 W. 5th St. and walk a block and a half away during a storm wearing nothing but a T-shirt.

In 2010, Fulton police had charged Nichols with endangering the welfare of a child when police found the child living in squalor and assault because there was a cigarette burn on the child.

At that time, the child was reportedly placed in foster care and Judge Seager reportedly returned the child to the custody of the mother.

Following the second charge, the child was reportedly placed in foster care and Seager returned the child to the mother over the objections of the Oswego County Department of Social Services.

To read the rest of the story, subscribe to The Valley News by calling 315-598-6397