The Second Department affirmed Family Court’s finding of neglect based upon the mother’s failure to cooperate in formulating a plan for mental health treatment of the child. The court explained the analytical criteria:
To establish neglect based upon a parent’s failure to provide adequate medical care, a petitioner must prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the child’s physical, mental, or emotional condition has been impaired, or is in imminent danger of becoming impaired, and that the actual or threatened harm to the child is due to the failure of the parent or caretaker to exercise a minimum degree of care in supplying the child with adequate medical care, though financially able to do so (see Family Ct Act §§ 1012[f][i][A]…). A parent’s unwillingness to follow a recommended course of psychiatric treatment which results in the impairment of a child’s emotional health may support a finding of neglect … . Even so, in the context of a petition alleging medical neglect, “the court’s role is not as surrogate parent and the inquiry is not posed in absolute terms of whether the parent has made the right’ or wrong’ decision” … . Rather, in deciding whether a parent has been neglectful by depriving his or her child of adequate medical care, the court must determine whether the parent has provided an acceptable course of treatment in light of all of the surrounding circumstances … .
Here, the mother’s refusal to consent to the course of medical treatment proposed by mental health professionals would not, by itself, have justified a finding of medical neglect. Nonetheless, the credible evidence established that the mother did not merely disagree with the course of medical treatment proposed for [the child], but also refused to cooperate in formulating any appropriate treatment … . Matter of Jaelin L. (Kimrenee C.), 2015 NY Slip Op 01946, 2nd Dept 3-11-15