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ADOPTION I. L. G. APPEAL BEAVER COUNTY CHILDREN AND YOUTH SERVICES (02/04/81)

decided: February 4, 1981.

IN RE ADOPTION OF I. L. G. APPEAL OF BEAVER COUNTY CHILDREN AND YOUTH SERVICES


No. 101 March Term, 1979, Appeal from the Decree of the Orphans' Court Division of the Court of Common Pleas of Beaver County, at No. 3029 of 1979, dated June 29, 1979.

COUNSEL

J. Philip Colavincenzo, Reed, Luce, Good, Tosh, Kunselman & McGregor, Beaver, for appellant.

Albert J. Jones, Neighborhood Legal Services Association, Beaver Falls, for appellee.

O'Brien, C. J., and Roberts, Nix, Larsen, Flaherty and Kauffman, JJ. Nix, J., files a dissenting opinion.

Author: Roberts

[ 492 Pa. Page 508]

OPINION OF THE COURT

Beaver County Children and Youth Services appeals from a final decree of the Orphans' Court Division of the Court of Common Pleas of Beaver County denying its petition for involuntary termination of the parental rights of V.G., the natural mother of I.L.G. The orphans' court found that "the record clearly established that [V.G.] failed to perform her parental duties for a period of at least six months." See Adoption Act of 1970, Act of July 24, 1970, P.L. 620,

[ 492 Pa. Page 509]

§ 311(1), 1 P.S. § 311(1) (Supp.1980).*fn* According to the orphans' court findings, for nine months, despite repeated communications from Children and Youth Services, V.G. neither asserted nor evinced an interest in I.L.G. Despite its findings, supported by the record, that V.G. failed to perform parental duties for the statutory period, the court refused to terminate V.G.'s parental rights. It did so on the ground that Children and Youth Services failed to render rehabilitative services to V.G. "or at the very least inform [V.G.] of the possible consequences of her failure to perform her parental duties."

The findings of the orphans' court, supported by the record, may not be disturbed:

"[I]n reviewing the decision of the orphans' court, [this Court's] task is to assure that the record is free from legal error and to determine if the chancellor's findings are supported by competent and adequate evidence, and are not predicated upon capricious disbelief of competent and credible evidence."

Cohen Will, 445 Pa. 549, 550, 284 A.2d 754, 755 (1971). Accord, e. g., Hamill Estate, 487 Pa. 592, 410 A.2d 770 (1980); In re C.A.W., 487 Pa. 163, 409 A.2d 16 (1979). Our inquiry here centers upon whether the orphans' court committed an error of law in refusing to terminate V.G.'s parental rights even though it found she failed to perform her parental duties for the requisite statutory period. It must be concluded that, ...


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