H. Robert Hampson, Hampson & Hampson, Warren, for appellants.
William F. Clinger, Jr., William R. Mervine, Mervine & Calderwood, Warren, for appellee.
Jones, C. J., and Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix and Manderino, JJ.
This appeal is brought by Catherine Geiger from a decree of the Court of Common Pleas of Warren County pursuant to sections of the Adoption Act of 1970 authorizing involuntary termination of parental rights. See sections 311(2) and 313 of the Adoption Act of 1970, Act of July 24, 1970, P.L. 620, No. 208, art. III, § 311, 1 P.S. § 311(2) and § 313. The decree terminated appellant's parental rights in her three children, Donna, age 6, Lawrence, age 5, and Sandra, age 2 (ages at the time of
the hearing). The court's decree did not terminate the parental rights of Lawrence Geiger, husband of Catherine Geiger at the time of the hearing and natural father of the two younger children. The three children remain, however, in the custody of the Warren County Child Welfare Agency in compliance with the court's order. The only issue raised by this appeal concerns the court's termination of appellant's parental rights in these children.
The petition seeking termination of appellant's parental rights was filed by the Warren County Child Welfare Agency. This agency's contact with the Geigers had continued over a five-year period commencing in 1967, when the agency undertook periodic visits for the purpose, as described by the agency, of providing "protective services" for the children. During this period, the agency decided that the Geigers had made no "improvement" in their ability to care for their children, and the agency therefore sought to have the parental rights of both the father and the mother terminated.
Section 311(2) of the Adoption Act of 1970 provides for the termination of one's parental rights if:
"(2) The repeated and continued incapacity, abuse, neglect, or refusal of the parent has caused the child to be without essential parental care, control, or subsistence necessary for his physical or mental well-being and the conditions and causes of the incapacity, abuse, neglect, or refusal cannot or will not be remedied by the parent . . ."
The agency's petition paraphrased the words of section 311(2) alleging that appellant's children "[were] neglected and abused and that [the parents] because of their incapacity and negligence [had] caused these children to be without essential parental care, control and subsistence necessary for their ...