State Agency Acted Within Discretion to 'Temporarily' Change to Virtual Visitation Policy Amid COVID-19, Appellate Court Says
“[W]e reach the merits of the plaintiffs’ claims, and rule that those claims fail as a matter of law,” Associate Justice John Englander wrote on behalf of the unanimous panel. “While visits between parents and children in department custody must ordinarily be in person, the circumstances in the spring of 2020 were far from ordinary. It was within the department’s discretion to adopt a policy, for that time, that favored parental contact by video conference, and sharply limited in-person visits. Nor, under the circumstances was the department required to secure court approval in advance.”
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