Appeal from order of Court of Common Pleas of York County, Oct. T., 1972, No. 430, in case of Commonwealth ex rel. Ivan R. Bankert and Nadine T. Bankert v. Children's Services.
Peter J. Mangan, with him Griest & Mangan, for appellants.
Robert M. Strickler, Solicitor, for appellee.
Wright, P. J., Watkins, Jacobs, Hoffman, Spaulding, Cercone, and Spaeth, JJ. Opinion by Hoffman, J.
[ 224 Pa. Super. Page 557]
This is an appeal from the order of the Court of Common Pleas, York County awarding custody of a minor child, Charlene Brandt, to appellee Child Services. Appellants contend that the evidence was insufficient to justify the custody order. We agree.
Charlene was born on August 18, 1963 and immediately placed by her natural parents in the custody of the Harrisburg Catholic Charities. On September 11, 1963, the three week old infant was placed in the care and custody of appellants as foster parents. On that same date, appellants and Catholic Charities entered into a foster parent agreement which provided, inter alia, that the Catholic Charities organization would alone decide what would promote the best interests of the child, that the placement of the child was temporary, and that the foster parents would take no steps to obtain legal custody of the child or adopt her. The agreement was subsequently transferred to Children's Services, appellee herein. In 1972 appellee demanded that
[ 224 Pa. Super. Page 558]
Charlene be surrendered to its custody for placement in a different foster home. Appellants refused and this action followed.
From the time of her initial placement with appellants to the present, a period of over nine years, the child has remained in the exclusive care and custody of appellants. She has been raised as a Catholic, attends church regularly with appellants, and is enrolled in a Catholic school. The testimony indicated that Charlene's progress in school is normal, and her orientation and adjustment to school good. Charlene stated that she enjoys both the church and school.
Charlene testified*fn1 that she is treated well by appellants, gets along well with them, and had no complaints about them. In her testimony, she referred to appellants as her mother and dad, and stated that she wished to remain with them.
The foster parents, Ivan and Nadine Bankert, have been married since 1952, and had one child who has married and no longer lives with them. Mr. Bankert is forty-three years old, employed as a print handler, and has a net weekly income of $120.00 which, he stated, is adequate to support his wife and Charlene. Mrs. Bankert is 39 years old and not employed. Both appellants ...