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S.S. v. Commonwealth

Case No. 2023-CA-0379-ME

Jefferson Family Court

Decided by Thompson, Chief Judge; Cetrulo and Combs, Judges.

Opinion by Thompson, Chief Judge

Date Rendered: October 13, 2023

Issue: Whether the Family Court erred in finding Mother neglected medically complex child.

Child was born prematurely and diagnosed with eosinophilic esophagitis. Child failed to gain weight and the Cabinet for Health and Family Services took out a neglect petition. A second neglect petition was taken out when mother refused to consent to a third dilation procedure as recommended by doctors. The child was placed in the Cabinet’s custody. The third procedure failed, but ultimately a gastronomy, or G-tube, procedure was successful.

After a hearing, the Family Court entered an adjudication order finding that Mother had neglected Child and subsequently entered a disposition order wherein Child was to remain in the custody of the Cabinet. Mother appealed.

Mother first argued that the Family Court erred in finding that she neglected Child citing that she took Child to over 100 medical appointments and that it was the G-tube which ultimately proved successful in treating Child.   The Kentucky Court of Appeals affirmed Family Court, holding that while another court may have found differently the Family Court’s decision was supported by substantial evidence, mainly the testimony of social workers and doctor.

The Kentucky Court of Appeals further held that the Family Court’s disposition was reasonable as it was reasonable for the Court to conclude that Mother should take parenting classes or have individual therapy before regaining custody of the child.

Digested by Elizabeth M. Howell