In the Matter of AF, FH# 2017-0974

Maura E. Bradford
Reversed - DCF did not have reasonable cause to make a finding of neglect against Appellant aunt/foster mother, as the report and response were largely a result of one incident between Appellant and her boyfriend that occurred while the child was home with a babysitter. DCF had the option to unsupport the neglect allegation, especially because Appellant had already broached the subject of the child being placed elsewhere, there were no other children in the home, and no evidence suggested Appellant had failed to provide minimally adequate care for the child prior to the reported incident. DCF had reason to be concerned about the 20-year-old Appellant's ability to care for the child, but the neglect determination was not well-founded. DCF also should have assessed the reliability of the reporter's statements, especially given Appellant's statements that the reporter had significant mental health issues. Evidence given brought concern that Appellant was the victim of domestic violence by her boyfriend, leading to the reported incident.
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