No. 97 March Term, 1979, Appeal from Decree of the Court of Common Pleas of Clearfield County - Orphans' Court No. 1615.
Elizabeth L. Cunningham, Clearfield, for appellant.
John Sughrue, Clearfield, for appellee.
Eagen, C. J., and O'Brien, Roberts, Nix, Larsen, Flaherty and Kauffman, JJ.
This is an appeal from a decree entered in the Court of Common Pleas of Clearfield County, Orphans' Court Division, ordering the involuntary termination of appellant's parental rights with respect to her minor child, L.A.G.
On November 22, 1978, a petition was filed in the Court of Common Pleas of Clearfield County, Orphans' Court Division, by the Clearfield County Children and Youth Services, appellee herein, seeking the involuntary termination of the parental rights of M.G.B., appellant herein and the child's natural mother, with respect to L.A.G. A hearing was held on the petition on February 15, 1979. On April 5, 1979, a decree nisi was entered granting the petition. Exceptions were filed and argued. On May 31, 1979, the Orphans' Court entered a final decree dismissing appellant's exceptions and terminating her parental rights. Hence this appeal.
The facts are as follows: L.A.G. was born on April 1, 1973, and is the natural daughter of appellant. During 1975 L.A.G. resided with appellant and appellant's boyfriend, now appellant's husband, in Clearfield County, Pennsylvania. In February, 1976, appellant voluntarily placed L.A.G. in the custody of appellee, Clearfield County Children and Youth Services, following an investigation by appellee of reported child abuse. In May, 1976, appellant and her present husband moved to Benton, Marshall County, Kentucky.
From February, 1976 through December, 1977, appellant maintained contact both with appellee and with her daughter: she communicated with appellee concerning L.A.G. on ten occasions, seven telephone calls and three letters, and visited L.A.G. six times. Late in 1977, appellee broached the possibility of placing L.A.G. in a foster home in Kentucky in order to facilitate visitation by appellant and to lay a foundation for the eventual return of custody to her. Appellant refused to entertain such a proposal, insisting that L.A.G. be returned only to her. Appellee advised appellant to engage an attorney should she intend to pursue a claim for custody.
On December 28, 1977, a conference was held with the Orphans' Court to determine the future of L.A.G.; appellant was present and was represented. At the conference appellant indicated her desire to regain custody of ...