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APPEAL DIANE B. (07/01/74)

decided: July 1, 1974.

APPEAL OF DIANE B.


Appeal from decree of Court of Common Pleas, Orphans' Court Division, of Berks County, in re Petition of The Lutheran Children and Family Service of Eastern Pennsylvania for involuntary termination of parental rights of Diane B. to Kimberly B.

COUNSEL

Mark I. Weinstein, with him Alan Linder, J. Richard Gray, and Tri-County Legal Services, for appellant.

Peter M. Mattoon, with him John V. Bonneau, Alan M. Hawman, Jr., Ballard, Spahr, Andrews & Ingersoll, and Derr, Hawman & Derr, for appellee.

Jones, C. J., Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix and Manderino, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Roberts.

Author: Roberts

[ 456 Pa. Page 430]

On June 13, 1973, the Lutheran Children and Family Service of Eastern Pennsylvania, in accordance with section 312 of the 1970 Adoption Act,*fn1 filed a petition to terminate the parental rights of Diane with respect to her four and one-half year-old daughter, Kimberly. Following a hearing,*fn2 the orphans' court on October 4,

[ 456 Pa. Page 4311973]

, granted the petition. This appeal ensued;*fn3 we affirm.

Eighteen year-old Diane, an unmarried woman, gave birth on December 29, 1968, to Kimberly. Shortly after Kimberly's birth, Diane and her parents executed a written authorization permitting the Lutheran Children and Family Service of Eastern Pennsylvania to remove the child from Reading Hospital for "proper placement and/or for legal adoption." Pursuant to this authorization, Kimberly was placed in appellee's custody on January 3, 1969, and has since remained in its care.

After appellee assumed custody of the child, Diane on February 5, 1969, agreed to pay $5.00 per week for the support of her daughter. No payments, however, were made under this agreement. As a consequence, more than two years thereafter, on April 5, 1971, a court order of support at the rate of $10.00 per week was entered against appellant. Payments totaling $60.00 were made between April 8 and June 18, 1971. Between May 30 and July 25, 1972, an additional $211.00 was paid, $186.00 of which was paid in compliance with a writ of capias issued against Diane. Her last payment, $100.00, was tendered on January 24, 1973, upon special demand of the non-support office. Thus during the four and one-half years between Kimberly's birth and the filing of the petition for involuntary termination -- a period during which Diane regularly was employed -- she only sporadically contributed toward the support of her daughter. Aside from a total of $371.00 support, she did not otherwise provide for Kimberly's care.

During this period Diane was never denied the right to visit Kimberly but rarely saw the child. Although

[ 456 Pa. Page 432]

    her visits were at first regular, they gradually decreased in frequency. Twelve scheduled visitation appointments were not kept; only twenty-six visits were made during the fifty-four month period following Kimberly's birth. Diane's last visit was on September 30, 1972, and she has not since asked for a visit or had contact with her daughter. Moreover, despite appellee's frequent encouragement and proffered ...


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