The Second Department, reversing Family Court, determined the record supported a neglect finding based upon domestic abuse witnessed or overheard by the children:
At the conclusion of the hearing, the Family Court credited the witnesses’ testimony, which the court found established that the father hit and choked the mother in the presence of two of the children, the eldest child was pushed by the father when he attempted to intervene, a third child was not in the room when the incident occurred but heard noise, and the three oldest children reported that they had witnessed the father engage in acts of domestic violence against their mother and had also witnessed the father under the influence of drugs. Nevertheless, the court dismissed the petitions on the ground that no physical impairment or risk of physical impairment of the children was established, nor was the mental state of the children explored. The petitioner appeals. * * *
Contrary to the Family Court’s conclusion, impairment or an imminent danger of impairment to the physical, mental, or emotional condition of the subject children could be inferred from the father’s conduct … . A single act of domestic violence in the presence of a child … , or within the hearing of a child … , may be sufficient for a neglect finding. In this case, there was evidence of repeated acts of domestic violence while the children were present in the household … , which the eldest child attributed to the father’s drug use. Furthermore, the father did not testify, warranting the “strongest negative inference” against him … .
Under these circumstances, the Family Court’s findings that the subject children were not neglected are not supported by the record. Accordingly, we reverse the order, reinstate the petitions, find that the children are neglected within the meaning of Family Court Act § 1012(f), and remit the matter to the Family Court, Kings County, for a dispositional hearing and determinations thereafter. Matter of Jihad H. (Fawaz H.), 2017 NY Slip Op 05224, 2nd Dept 6-28-17