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In re Adoption of Gregory

747 N.E.2d 120 (2001)

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In re Adoption of Gregory

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court

747 N.E.2d 120 (2001)

Facts

Gregory was born with significant medical and developmental issues that required daily special care. Gregory’s parents (defendants) also each had cognitive disabilities, mental-health issues, and a history of substance abuse. The Department of Social Services (department) (plaintiff) took custody of Gregory and began trying to help the parents learn how to care for Gregory. The department located a social worker and a group with experience teaching parenting skills to parents with cognitive disabilities and arranged for them to educate the parents. The department set up meetings between Gregory and his parents and often made changes to the meetings to accommodate the parents’ issues. The department also sent information about the meetings to the educators to help focus the parents’ training sessions more productively. However, Gregory’s parents did not attend many of the training or education sessions or any of Gregory’s medical appointments and repeatedly had difficulty focusing or parenting while at the meetings with Gregory. The department also offered to put Gregory’s parents in a supervised residence where they could help care for Gregory, but Gregory’s father was not interested. The DSS moved to terminate the parents’ parental rights and to allow Gregory to be adopted without the parents’ consent. In response to the motion, for the first time, Gregory’s father complained that the department had violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by failing to accommodate his disabilities. The trial court made detailed findings and granted the department’s motions. Gregory’s parents appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Ireland, J.)

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