Tuesday, May 3, 2022

On lucrative policies of child-trafficking (now to gays from the local tribe-embedded mandatory reporters) in Delaware County (NY) DSS

When I saw the cringey-sweet ad about a gay couple adopting a little boy with the help of Delaware County (NY) Department of Social Services (and saving $100,000 on the adoption - one of the adoptive parents, Dan Endress, had to mention that detail), I knew I need to dig the adoptive parents' backgrounds.

Because I have lived in Delaware County for 16 years, and during those entire 16 years either my husband, or we together, or I alone represented parents against that same Department of Social Services - I know Delaware County DSS, their mafia and their mafia tricks VERY WELL.   

Delaware County as a whole is (some call it "a land of kissing cousins") - tribal, clannish, and its DSS is even more so.

Moreoever, I know for a fact that Delaware County DSS never act as good Samaritans to anybody outside of their circle.

Moreover, as an attorney, I know how gay-averse local public figures are, so, when I saw this particular joyous piece, I started to dig for answers - and boy what I, of course, found. 

First of all, for some interesting reason, DSS in its ad changed the name of one of the adoptive parents.

It showed him as a "Sean Kaufmann".

In fact, in his mother's obituary and in homeowner's records he is shown under a different name, Shawn Kauffman.

I wonder why Delaware County had to change his name - but not the name of his partner, Dan Endress, in this ad.  Possibly, so that his adoption would not show up in Internet searches.  But - he is already in a public ad by the government, so in for a penny, in for a pound. 

What is also interesting - I didn't find anything, but will be grateful for tips from local readers, what kind of position does Shawn Kauffman have in Delaware County.  Very, very interesting.

As to Daniel Endress, it turned out that, while - I KNOW FOR A FACT as an attorney who consulted gays in the area - that SUNY Delhi discriminated against and squeezed out gays from its employment (out-of-the area gays, mind, not rooted deeply through partnership with a local large tribe, like Endress is), Daniel Endress is "our kind of gay" in Delaware County, part of the local tribe and thus entitled to gifts.

Of children.

I also know from my representation of parents against local DSS that Delaware County DSS routinely takes young children from their families and adopts them out into families of local government officials - with local judges obliging such gift-giving.

So - local judges have to "pay to play" with DSS.  In children gifts/ trafficking, too.

When I represented some parents against DSS in Family Court, I have found strangest "coincidences" in how local government officials gathered and adopted into one family (through the same "foster-to-adopt" scheme) children taken/stolen/ripped from the entire large extended clans/tribes in the county.  

People associated with Village of Delhi's government got such gifts, for example.

And, the "foster-to-adoption" scheme is an illegal scheme, too, and the County knows about it.

Because, as the New York State Court of Appeals (the highest court in the State of New York) has stated 51 freaking years ago, foster parents must deliver the child back to social services or to the parent (whichever may be the case) on demand.

And that a "the temporary parent substitute must keep his proper distance at all costs to himself" and not plan to keep the child put into their temporary - and paid - care by DSS.

And that is, again, NOT what is happening in foster care in Delaware County, where, I KNOW as an attorney representing parents against DSS for years in that County, that DSS, at the same time, routinely denies bio parents their rightful visitation of children in foster care, especially with very young children, thus destroying their bond with their parents, while allowing and encouraging foster-to-adopt parents to have children call THEM, and not their own parents, Mom and Dad.

And, DSS routinely denies extended biological family's requests to adopt the child, by threats to take their own children away, by dragged out, botched and fabricated "home study" of bio families.

That is done on purpose, to get to the point of the child reaching 11 out of the last 15 months in foster care, where "by law" mandated by federal grant-giving legislation, DSS may move to terminate parental rights of children in foster care, WHETHER DSS HAVE PROVEN THAT THE PARENT DID SOMETHING WRONG BY THAT TIME OR NOT.

This law is arrogantly, openly unconstitutional - but who cares when a valuable asset (a child, worth $100,000 to the adoptive parent and thousands of dollars in federal grant money to DSS) is to be harvested from the local poor.

While dragging time with the bio family to reach the 11 out of 15 months' mark, once the goal is achieved, and the child is "freed" for adoption (parents' parental rights terminated through various fabrications of DSS and local judges) - DSS "home finder" sweetly admits in the gay adoption ad, that it then moves with a lightning speed.

It takes her from a month to a month and a half to approve of adopting a child (even to a RELUCTANT parent - one of the two adoptive gay parents admitted to not wanting the child at first!), less than some animal shelters take to verify the adoptive pet owners' backgrounds.

And, as one of the adoptive gay parents happily and tearfully claimed, it took him just 3 minutes in the courtroom to get adoption approved by the judge.

The same judge (usually) who, being paid by Delaware County, for himself and for the pet jobs he creates for friends and connections, helped DSS drag the case until termination of parental rights, accepted all kinds of fabrications from DSS and did not make it a 3-minute deal for the bio parents.  An unwed mother in this case (I will appreciate if the bio family of this child will contact me with their story.  I will keep it confidential if they don't want to publicize it, but will publish it if they want to do it).

It is a POLICY in this county to behave like that - fabricate a child neglect case where a marketable child is born to an unwed poor mother, drag it in court until 11 out of 15 months, terminate mother's rights or force her to accept termination by various means, adopt the child out to one of "their own", and gather funds from the feds the entire time the child was in foster care and a special gift for the efforts to adopt the child out of foster care.

It is a child trafficking operation authorized by the federal government - while not allowed by the state Court of Appeals based on State Constitutional rights of parents, BUT WHO CARES in the rural neck of woods, right?  RIGHT?

The New York State Court of Appeals I quoted in this article has also pointed out in the same case that foster care "parents" have NO right to custody of the child.

Bio parents who have been through this particular heartache know that at the time a child is placed into foster care, the case in Family Court is usually JUST STARTING, DSS did not prove that the parent did anything wrong yet (while the burden of proof IS on DSS and not on the parent).

Bio parents at that time KEEP their CONSTITUTIONAL parental rights - and may be OPPOSED to their child being placed, let's say, with a gay foster couple.  

Does Delaware County CARE about parents' wishes in such cases?

Because parents may choose to SUE the county for violating their cultural, moral and religious beliefs by disregarding their preferences for the child and having the child groomed from early on according to the LGBT agenda, contrary to the child's bio parents wishes.

Moreover, at the very minimum, at the time the child is placed with foster parents, the child SHOULD NOT BE placed with people whose interest is to SAVE MONEY ($100,000) on "starting a family" with the help of somebody else's kid.

A foster parent like that will put their efforts, contrary to the initial goals of court proceedings to reunify the child with his bio parent, to, instead, WEAN the child from their bio parents and instill into the child that foster parents are their permanent parents and that adoption is inevitable and desirable.

Which is EXACTLY what is happening in Delaware County.

In fact, now Delaware County DSS went to the point of arrogantly making public advertisements trying to earn money from the feds by luring gay couples with the $100,000 savings on surrogacy through a "foster-to-adopt" schemes.  

Even advertised application of "foster-to-adopt" parents is not for fostering SEPARATELY and for adoption SEPARATELY, but it is the same application for "FOSTER/ADOPTION".  They don't even try to conceal their illegal policies.

After all, single mothers in Delaware County are a captive breeding herd for the friends and public officials in the local government.

It is NO JOKE.

After I have moved away from Delaware County I have received PLENTY of reports from my former clients and people who knew from my former clients about my representation of parents against DSS in the area.

Reports from mothers about to give birth who were FRANTIC that DSS is threatening to take their child right after birth (newborn children are the most marketable in the adoption business, mind).

Delaware County DSS DOES take children right after birth from their nursing mothers.  Routinely.

I represented parents in such cases.

And Delaware County DSS DOES harass pregnant women, having NO REGARD for the health of the mother or the child.  I know examples of that, too.

And I know that mothers threatened by DSS sometimes prefer a home birth, with all its attendant dangers, rather than to risk having the child grabbed from them from the hospital - because DSS have a cordial relationship with hospitals, and hospitals, by a convenient law, are "mandatory reporters" of "child maltreatment", so DSS strikes an agreement with local hospitals to flag a certain future mother after she gives birth, withhold her child from her and call DSS.

Since at that time the mother (usually an indigent/poor person) has no funds to hire a private attorney, and is not entitled yet to an assigned attorney, the theft of the child from the hospital goes smoothly.

Contrary to, again, the decision of the New York State Court of Appeals that said that a child of a single unwed poor mother is "not a waif up for grabs", and the government may not redistribute children from the poor to the rich-er adoptive parents based on determinations whether it will be "better" for the child to be raised in a rich-er adoptive home than by the child's own biological parents and extended family.


You know WHO Dan Engress is, the sweet gay adoptive parent of the child Mason who was grabbed from his mother as a newborn or a toddler by DSS 

and placed with Dan Engress and his gay partner by Delaware County DSS on a pre-agreed illegal foster-to-adopt scheme that was meant to save the gay couple $100,000 in surrogacy costs?

Here is Dan Engress's self-description from his LinkedIn account.

He IS the local hospital's mandatory reporter of child abuse and maltreatment - in Delhi, NY, I am told by the locals, where DSS has its office - so he HAS to have a long-time bosom relationship with the local DSS.

He is "one of their own".

So DSS gave him and his - reluctant! Kauffman did not want that child at first, and admitted that in the ad - gay partner a $100,000 gift of a child likely stolen from a local unwed mother.

Watch how Engress recalled how the child Mason was "temporarily returned to the mother" and then ripped out of her arms again and placed with Engress again.  

Obviously, Engress got attached to the child, he wanted the child - and DSS obliged and delivered the child.  What a friend of Delaware County DSS wants, he gets.  Law or no law.

That's what a "good tribal relationship" with DSS is worth in Delaware County, New York.

Engress is not only a director of nursing in the local hospital.

He was also a school "educator" in Walton Central School - and an Assistant (some years) and Adjunct (some other years) professor in the local state college, SUNY Delhi Tech College, data from watchdog Seethroughny.net.

SUNY Delhi lists a Daniel L. Endress as an Assistant Professor, School of Nursing even now.

And, here is the summary of his salary from various government sources - that is on top of his salary as the Director of Nursing in the private Basset Healthcare/O'Connor Hospital.

Would the child Mason fare better in life with his well-paid and - locally - powerful new adoptive father Daniel Endress than with his unwed birth mother?

I do not know.

What I do know though is what the New York State Court of Appeals has said 51 years ago - which the local tribal DSS mafia wouldn't get through their braindead heads:

"the issue is not, as the Polks would have it, whether one choice of custody or another is better for the child, or, put another way, whether the Polks would raise the child better than would the unwed mother, or which cultural or family background would be best for the child

Least of all is the issue that of comparing the quality and depth of love and affection between the child and those who would compete for its custody. 

Nor is the issue whether natural parents or adoptive parents make "better" parents, whatever that may mean. 

The power of the State, let alone its courts, is much narrower. 

Child and parent are entitled to be together, unless compelling reason stemming from dire circumstances or gross misconduct forbid it in the paramount interest of the child, or there is abandonment or surrender by the parent

A baby born out-of-wedlock, even of a troubled mother, is not no-one's child. 

In the inimitable vernacular, it is not "up for grabs". 

It is not a waif claimable by the first finderhowever highly qualified."

  • Knowing how Delaware County DSS made a child trafficking conveyer from the poor to the local high-and-mighty of infant children, without any legal grounds for it, 
  • knowing how local judges fold over under DSS pressure, and knowing which financial incentives exist for the local judges and for DSS to do so;
  • getting hints from this cringey-"sweet" story that the mother DID get her son for a month and a half back, so she did not want to let him go - before DSS, with the help of one of the local Family Court judges who DSS financially supports - ripped the child out of the mother's arms because Dan Engress got a liking of him and wanted to save $100,000 on surrogacy, and because DSS thought they will look properly woke and good and "modern" in giving an infant to a gay couple, even if one of the adoptive parents was UNWILLING

I smell a rat here.

This case STINKS.

As many, if not all adoption-out-of-foster care cases stink to high heaven.

Note also how the sweet happy-faced Cruella - oh, sorry, Allison Hamm of Delaware County DSS, 

the "home finder" - she has supposedly "FOUND" Dan Engress, the mandatory reporter she works in lockstep for years!

And look how well child trafficking pays in Delaware County - after all, this woman provides inventory so that the county can claim grants from the feds to fund those same salaries (see how it happens, for example, in the annual report of such funding published by the neighboring Otsego County DSS).

The annual report from Otsego County DSS (and federal financing by DSS work the same way everywhere) shows that THE BULK of financing of salaries of DSS workers come from federal grants - received for stealing children from their bio families and adopting them out to strangers.  

As to the moral story about how well this child trafficking pays, I have gathered data about Allison Hamm's salary from public salary watchdog Seethroughny.net and sorted it by the year.

Here we go:

Note that in 2008 Hamm was humbly penny-pinching in the Schenectady City School district.

Then in 2009 she moved up into the rural snow belt into the Jefferson Central School district, and her salary was already in the double digits - while continuing to get paid in Schenectady City School District, too.

In the same 2009 Hamm put her toes into the South Kortright Central Schools and into Stamford Central Schools (Judge Becker's seat where his wife worked - and Judge Becker was, remember, Delaware County's DSS attorney for 27 years before coming to the bench in 2002).

Then, in 2010, Hamm switched into South Kortright Central School for a modest double-digit salary (13K) while continuing to penny-pinch in Jefferson Central School - see the relocation trend?

In 2011 and 2012 Hamm toiled singularly in the South Kortright Central Schools, somehow earning in 2012 less than in the previous year, 2011.

In 2013 Hamm continued to toil in South Kortright Central Schools, while adding local BOCES (children-dumbing haven of the local DSS) to her career.

In 2014 Hamm already proudly commanded over $26K in salary from the South Kortright Central Schools.

In 2015, Hamm suddenly "suffered" a great big loss in income, only getting $2K from the South Kortright Central Schools (a loss of $24,000 in comparison with the previous year) - but she has hit gold by footing the door with Delaware County DSS!

And from then on, Hamms' salary with Delaware County DSS was steadily growing from the 30s to the 40s (with an unexplained dip into 20s in 2020).

Child trafficking pays, see?

The redistribution of children from the poor to friends of the local government should stop.

And financial incentives corrupting public officials, including judges, to go along with this child trafficking, should be abolished.

And, as I said, policies revealed in this happily woke, but brainless ad by Delaware County DSS can garner the County a good old class action by bio families of stolen children.

I am looking forward to it.

Monday, May 2, 2022

Foster parents should not be also adoptive parents and have no rights to custody of the child - a NY Court of Appeals case

I broke up blocks of text in separate sentences for easier digestion.

The decision is by the highest court of the State of New York, Court of Appeals, so it is a mandatory precedent for all courts across the state of New York.


29 N.Y.2d 196 (1971)

‎In the Matter of Spence-Chapin Adoption Service, Respondent,‎
‎ v.‎
‎ Herbert Polk et al., Appellants. ‎
‎ The People of the State of New York ex rel. Leo H. Barry, Respondent,‎
‎ v.‎
‎ Spence-Chapin Adoption Service et al., Respondents, and Herbert Polk et al., Appellants.‎

Court of Appeals of the State of New York.

Argued September 7, 1971.

Decided September 23, 1971.

Edward L. SadowskyJames H. GoodfriendStacy L. Wallach and Stanley Posess for appellants.

Roy L. Reardon and James Wawro for respondent.

Leo H. Barry, pro se, respondent.

Helen L. Buttenwieser for New York Civil Liberties Union, amicus curiae.

Chief Judge FULD and Judges BURKE, SCILEPPI, BERGAN, JASEN and GIBSON concur.

198‎*198‎‎ BREITEL, J.‎

‎These are two proceedings. 

One is by the Spence-Chapin Adoption Service, to recover the custody of a three-year-old child from the Polks, foster care "custodians" to whom the agency had delivered the child for compensated foster care to be returned on demand

The other is by the unwed mother of the child to regain custody. 

Neither proceeding is an adoption proceeding and the child has never been placed for adoption. 

Nor has any authorized person or agency brought any proceeding to establish the unfitness of the mother to retain custody of her own child, nor has there been any proof of unfitness, albeit there have been findings of inadequate plans by the mother to care for the child. 

The Polks resist the proceedings and assert some inchoate right to custody and eventual adoption contending that the mother is incapable of providing adequate care for the child.

While there had been a statutory written surrender of the child's custody looking to adoption, the New York City Commissioner of Social Services consented to the return of the custody of the child to the mother, a consent joined in by the agency, thus nullifying the surrender as if it had never been. 

These salient circumstances distinguish this case from others in which a child has been surrendered and the surrendering parent has sought judicial assistance in undoing the surrender (cf. ‎‎People ex rel. Scarpetta v. Spence-Chapin Adoption Serv.‎‎, 28 N Y 2d 185‎‎) or where prospective adoptive parents have had custody looking to adoption and have sought to retain the child against the wishes of a mother who has changed her mind (e.g., ‎‎People ex rel. Anonymous v. New York Foundling Hosp.‎‎, 17 A D 2d 122,‎‎ affd. ‎‎12 N Y 2d 863‎‎).‎

Thus the issue is not, as the Polks would have it, whether one choice of custody or another is better for the child, or, put another way, whether the Polks would raise the child better than would the unwed mother, or which cultural or family background would be best for the child

Least of all is the issue that of comparing the quality and depth of love and affection between the child and those who would compete for its custody. 

Nor is the issue whether natural parents or adoptive parents make "better" parents, whatever that may mean. 

The power of the State, let alone its courts, is much narrower. 

Child and parent are entitled to be together, unless compelling reason stemming from dire circumstances or gross misconduct forbid it in the paramount interest of the child, or there is abandonment or surrender by the parent

A baby born out-of-wedlock, even of a troubled mother, is not no-one's child. 

In the inimitable vernacular, it is not "up for grabs". 

It is not a waif claimable by the first finder, however highly qualified.

The Family Court misconceived the nature of the proceedings and considered itself free to determine conscientiously in whose custody the child would fare best, the foster care custodians, the natural mother, or some future adoptive couple of Chinese extraction

The Appellate Division correctly determined that the court was without power, absent abandonment of the child, statutory surrender outstanding, or the established unfitness of the mother, to deprive the mother of custody

Since none of these factors was present the natural mother was entitled to obtain the custody of her child, and the child was entitled to be returned to its mother

It so directed, and the order should be affirmed.

On June 13, 1968 the mother bore the child, a little girl, out of wedlock. 

She was then 19 years of age, a native of China who had come to this country with her family in 1963. 

The father of the child was also of Chinese extraction, married, with four children of the marriage. 

She concealed the illegitimate birth from her parents and siblings, except one married sister. 

All are of the lower economic level from Manhattan's "Chinatown". 

Because of the complications in her own family and in that of her paramour, she gave the child to the New York City Commissioner of Social Services for temporary care but not for adoption. 

Five months later the Spence-Chapin agency, having received the child from the Commissioner, placed it with the Polks for foster care, as it had previously done with some 16 (or 18) other children, to be returned on demand, as the Polks had faithfully done with other children entrusted to them by the agency. 

While the child was with the city nursery the mother visited the child biweekly, and while it was with the Polks on Long Island once a month, with inconsequential exceptions. 

It is evident that she sought to maintain her relationship with the child despite the obvious hurdles, and from time to time made plans which she discussed with the agency

None of these plans was desirable and on the agency's advice none was essayed.

In March, 1970, as the child approached two years of age, the agency insisted that a permanent arrangement be made. 

It finally convinced the mother on May 12, 1970 to execute a written surrender of the child and authorize adoption by adoptive parents, pursuant to section 384 of the Social Services Law. 

She orally conditioned her agreement that the child be placed with adoptive parents of Chinese extraction. The fact of the oral condition is undisputed.

At this point the Polks, who had formed a deep attachment for the child, were encouraged, they say, to believe they could keep the child

Indiscreet or misunderstood remarks were made to Mrs. Polk by a novice caseworker that they would be eligible to or could adopt the child

After obtaining the surrender, the agency had some initial difficulty, soon resolved, in finding adoptive parents of Chinese extraction. 

In any event, it was shortly after the surrender that the agency demanded the return of the child

The Polks, in breach of their obligation, refused, and instead demand the right to adopt the child.

In the meantime, the mother concerned about what was happening to her child, learned from the agency that no placement for adoption had taken place, that the Polks were illegally retaining the child and asserting a right to adopt it. 

She then, on September 30, 1970, demanded the return of the child. 

The Commissioner of Social Services, joined in by the agency, consented to the return of the custody, as permitted by the statute (Social Services Law, § 383, subd. 1). 

Then ensued these proceedings, during which, at one point, the Polks removed themselves and the child from the State in order to be beyond the jurisdiction of its courts.

On the day of the argument of this appeal the Commissioner of Social Services addressed a letter to the Polk lawyer purporting to have changed his mind and stating that he is ready to consent to the adoption of the child by the Polks.

Apart from the doubtful judgment of making such an abrupt ex parte communication while the case is sub judice, and the obligation of the court to determine issues on the record made, the letter has no effect. 

Once the surrender had been nullified by the consent to return custody to the mother, only by a new surrender, or a judicial undoing of the consent, could the mother be deprived of the custody of her child. 

As noted earlier, there is no adoption proceeding pending, and, as observed later, there is unlikely to be one unless the mother consents.

These are the nub facts of the case. 

There is much more about religious and racial differences between the Polks and the child, and whether a "Chinatown" background of the mother and her immediate family was appropriate for a child now exposed for three years to an occidental and suburban culture

There is also much about the love and affection the Polks have for the child and the child for them, and about the inadequate or undesirable plans the mother has had for raising the child. 

All of these factors would be material, perhaps, if the State had the power to wrest a child from its mother in the absence of abandonment, outstanding formal surrender, or demonstrated unfitness as distinguished from what others might regard as inadequate plans for its upbringing. 

It has no such power, nor should it have.

There has been no serious effort to assert, let alone establish, abandonment of the child

There has been, it is true, assertion of unfitness, but the problems the mother has are no greater nor different than for other young unmarried mothers, further complicated by her particular circumstances. 

There is a chasm between unfitness for parenthood and what is only troubled parenthood, or poverty, or difficulty in resolving plans for a child's upbringing

Even if she has not lived wisely, the mother loves and is concerned for her child, even as the Polks have demonstrated by their extraordinary breach of trust and illegal actions, that they too care for the child.

‎Only the one-time delivery and surrender of the child by the mother stands as an arguable issue in the case. 

The statute is explicit, however. 

It provides: "The parent of a child remanded or committed to an authorized agency shall not be entitled to the custody thereof, except upon the consent of the court, public board, commission, or official responsible for the commitment of such child, or in pursuance of an order of a court or judicial officer of competent jurisdiction, determining that the interest of such child will be promoted thereby and that such parent is fit, competent and able to duly maintain, support, and educate ‎202‎*202‎‎ such child." (Social Services Law, § 383, subd. 1.) 

In this case the child had been committed to the New York City Commissioner of Social Services. 

Upon his consent, which he gave, the mother became entitled to the untrammeled custody of the child

That is the end of it. 

Incidentally, insofar as the Polks are concerned, subdivision 2 of the same statute makes clear that as foster care "custodians" they never had true custody. 

That custody was in the Spence-Chapin agency by delegation from the Commissioner of Social Services. 

Of course, had the Commissioner or the agency refused to consent to the return of the child to the mother, the case would be different, and the mother would have had the burden of undoing her surrender as in ‎‎People ex rel. Scarpetta v. Spence-Chapin Adoption Serv.‎‎, 28 N Y 2d 185,‎‎ ‎‎supra‎‎. 

But even on a superficial examination it is apparent that there was a reasonable basis for the Commissioner's act in consenting and that act is therefore beyond further review by the courts, assuming for this purpose that the Commissioner's act is at all reviewable (cf. ‎‎Matter of Jewish Child Care Assn. [Sanders]‎‎, 5 N Y 2d 222, 228,‎‎ ‎‎infra‎‎).‎

As noted earlier, irrelevant are cases concerned with the undoing of a surrender by the mother (e.g., People ex rel. Scarpetta v. Spence-Chapin Adoption Serv.supra, based on invulnerable affirmed findings of fact beyond review by this court, but restating the applicable law and principles governing a child found to have been improvidently surrendered for adoption to proposed adoptive parents). 

One reported case in this State concerned with foster care custodians who became too attached to the child is Matter of Jewish Child Care Assn. (Sanders), (supra). 

There are parallel facts. 

A child was born out-of-wedlock and placed in foster care while the mother made the painful struggle to effect a suitable arrangement for its upbringing. 

By the time arrangements were ready, the foster care custodians rebelled against yielding up the child, as did the Polks, "contrary to their own agreement and in violation of their trust." (id., at p. 228). 

The court sustained the right of the mother to her child and of the child to be with its mother. 

It said, through the late Chief Judge CONWAY: "The nature of this case requires one further basic statement. 

What is essentially at stake here is the parental custodial right.

Although Child Care has the present legal right to custody (Social Welfare Law, § 383, subd. 2) it stands, as against the Sanders, in a representative capacity as the protector of Laura's mother's inchoate custodial right and the parent-child relationship which is to become complete in the future. 

Any future physical legal custody in Laura's mother would be but an empty right, if the emotional substance of that relationship were permitted to be replaced antecedently by the parent-like love and possessiveness of Mr. and Mrs. Sanders.

 This court has acknowledged that `* * * the right of a parent, under natural law, to establish a home and bring up children is a fundamental one * * *.' (People ex rel. Portnoy v. Strasser, 303 N.Y. 539, 542, supra.) 

In support of this tenet we have declared that `Except where a nonparent has obtained legal and permanent custody of a child by adoption, guardianship, or otherwise, he who would take or withhold a child from mother or father must sustain the burden of establishing that the parent is unfit and that the child's welfare compels awarding its custody to the nonparent.' (People ex rel. Kropp v. Shepsky, 305 N.Y. 465, 469, supra.) 

A proper application of these doctrines requires the conclusion that foster parents may not succeed in a proceeding such as this, where the child temporarily in their care is to return to its natural parent, in accordance with the trust accepted by the foster parents for compensation, in the absence of a clear showing that to return the child to the boarding agency will operate to its grave detriment. 

The paramount parental right to raise one's own child, which we regard as fundamental, is to be protected not only from directed and immediate incursion, as in the Shepsky and Strasser cases, but also from indirect and less proximate subversion, such as in the case before us." (5 N Y 2d 222, 229-230).

People ex rel. Kropp v. Shepsky (305 N.Y. 465), cited in the Sanders case, although it involved a surrender set aside, or perhaps, a fortiori, because it did, restated the fundamental principles that an unwed mother has a parental right and duty to custody, and that primacy of parental rights may not be ignored. 

Thus Chief Judge FULD stated on behalf of the court: "Apart, however, from such special and weighty circumstances, the primacy of parental rights may not be ignored. In no case may a contest between parent and nonparent resolve itself into `a simple factual issue as to which [affords] the better surroundings, or as to which party is better equipped to raise the child.' (People ex rel. Portnoy v. Strassersupra, 303 N.Y. 539, 542.) 

And that is true even if the nonparent initially acquired custody of the child with the parent's consent. (See, e.g., People ex rel. Beaudoin v. Beaudoinsupra, 126 App. Div. 505, 507, affd. 193 N.Y. 611; cf. Matter of Bistany, 239 N.Y. 19.)" (305 N.Y. 465, 469) and further: "In other words, the burden rests, not, for instance, upon the mother to show that the child's welfare would be advanced by being returned to her, but rather upon the nonparents to prove that the mother is unfit to have her child and that the latter's well-being requires its separation from its mother." (305 N. Y. at 469). 

Of course, this does not mean the child's rights and interests are subordinated. 

The principle rests on the generally accepted view that a child's best interest is that it be raised by its parent unless the parent is disqualified by gross misconduct

That the generalization has myriads of exceptions is equally true, but the exceptions do not contradict the verity of the principle.

What has been discussed thus far are not merely legal principles. 

They are legal principles, to be sure, but they also reflect considered social judgments in this society respecting the family and parenthood, or else they could not survive as legal principles.

But it is of merit to refer to some pragmatic circumstances.

Before the present contretemps, the Polks had been used by the agency in some 16 foster care assignments

They were good at these compensated assignments, and undoubtedly the agency in choosing them made the investigations and the determinations of their qualification for foster care

It is obvious that the investigations and judgments required to select adoptive parents are of a different order (but see Social Services Law, § 383, subd. 3). 

The five children of the Polks were a decided advantage in a foster care arrangement and perhaps another matter in adoption. 

The attained age of the Polks in foster care — a temporary assignment always — is of different consideration than when evaluated for the life-time assignment in prospective adoption.

Then there are the matters of race and religion about which reasonable persons may and do differ

But that the mother should have the say on issues of race and religion seems reasonable and is accepted doctrine, so long as she has not abandoned the child or is unfit (cf. Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U. S. 510, 534-535Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U. S. 390, 399-402).[*]

Looming as important, even though less important than the controlling factors, is that foster care custodians must deliver on demand not 16 out of 17 times, but every time, or the usefulness of foster care assignments is destroyed. 

To the ordinary fears in placing a child in foster care should not be added the concern that the better the foster care custodians the greater the risk that they will assert, out of love and affection grown too deep, an inchoate right to adopt

The temporary parent substitute must keep his proper distance at all costs to himself.

A case like this evokes compassion, most of all for the child, but at the same time it must be recognized that even in a permissive society the bearing of an illegitimate child has most often the effect of true tragedy — as irreversible as the breaking of an egg. 

In the Scarpetta case (supra) Judge JASEN said to the point: "It is or should be obvious that the surrender of a child by its parent, whatever the circumstances or reason, has elements of tragedy in it and that pain, feelings of guilt, and suffering will not be avoided whatever course is taken. 

And, of course, the foster parents who hope to adopt the child are necessarily touched by the tragedy, guiltless and otherwise uninvolved though they be, if perchance the child is wrested from them on the annulling of a surrender." (28 N Y 2d 185, 188-189). And that case involved a child delivered for prospective adoption, a circumstance absent from this.

Accordingly, the order of the Appellate Division should be affirmed, without costs.

Order affirmed.

[*] Of critical significance, too, is the fact that in the absence of the mother being found unfit the adoption of the child by another could never take place. In the absence of abandonment, surrender, or unfitness the mother's consent to adoption is essential (Domestic Relations Law, § 111). 

Thus, even if the Polks were given custody, adoption might never ensue.