In re Valerie

In In re Valerie, 223 Conn. 492, 613 A.2d 748 (1992), the mother's parental rights were terminated on the ground of an absence of an ongoing parent-child relationship, i.e., there was no ongoing parent-child relationship that ordinarily develops as a result of a parent having met on a continuing, day-to-day basis the physical, emotional, moral and educational needs of the child. The reason there was an absence of an on going parent-child relationship was because, under a different statute, the state obtained custody of the child at birth due to the mother's use of cocaine within hours prior to beginning labor. The court concluded "that, as a matter of statutory construction, the state may not, under the circumstances of this case, obtain and maintain custody of the child so as to create a lack of an ongoing parent-child relationship." The court stated, in relevant part, as follows: We recognize, as the petitioner points out, that the intermediate appellate courts of some other jurisdictions have approved of custodial commitment petitions, and in at least one case a termination petition, based upon prenatal drug use by the mother. See, e.g., In re Troy D., 215 Cal. App. 3d 889, 263 Cal.Rptr. 869 (1989) (commitment petition); In re Solomon L., 190 Cal. App. 3d 1106, 236 Cal.Rptr. 2 (1987) (both commitment and termination petitions); In re Nash, 165 Mich. App. 450, 419 N.W.2d 1 (1987) (commitment petition); In the Matter of Baby X, 97 Mich. App. 111, 293 N.W.2d 736 (1980) (commitment petition); Matter of Stefanel Tyesha C., 157 App.Div.2d 322, 556 N.Y.S.2d 280 (1990) (commitment petition). We are unpersuaded by the reasoning of these decisions because they do not rely, as do we, on a close examination of the language, constitutional background and available legislative history of the statutory framework purporting to support a petition for termination of parental rights.