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MATTER JANICE JACKSON (07/23/82)

filed: July 23, 1982.

IN THE MATTER OF JANICE JACKSON, A MINOR. APPEAL OF PATRICIA JACKSON


No. 186 March Term, 1978, Appeal from Order of the Court of Common Pleas, Juvenile Division, of Dauphin County, No. 142 Juvenile Division, 1978

COUNSEL

Patricia Jackson, appellant, in pro. per.

Spero T. Lappas, Harrisburg, for appellee.

Price, Wieand and Lipez, JJ.

Author: Wieand

[ 302 Pa. Super. Page 371]

Patricia Jackson, the appellant, contends that the trial court erred when it adjudicated her daughter, Janice, a dependent child and placed her in the care of a paternal aunt and uncle. We are constrained to agree that the adjudication of dependency is not supported by the record. Therefore, we vacate such adjudication.

The procedural history of this case is complex. Janice Jackson, born September 28, 1971, is the child of the appellant and William Crystal. The parents were not and never have been married. Appellant has two other daughters, whose custody is not in issue in these proceedings. On February 4, 1978, Crystal, the child's father, filed a petition for habeas corpus seeking to remove Janice from appellant's custody and place her with Crystal's sister, Mrs. Arlene Richardson. After hearing, the court awarded custody of the child to Mrs. Richardson, but granted appellant rights of visitation. During one of those visits, on April 29, 1978, Janice complained that her uncle, Robert Richardson, had beaten her, and appellant took the child to the Harrisburg Hospital. An emergency room physician called Child Line which, in turn, contacted Dauphin County Social Services for Children and Youth (hereinafter "the agency"). Following an investigation, the agency filed a petition on May 1, 1978, alleging that Janice Jackson was dependent under the provisions of the Juvenile Act.*fn1 Janice was taken into custody by the agency and placed in a foster home. After a preliminary hearing before a Juvenile Master, she was continued in foster placement.

At the dependency hearing on August 14, 1978, appellant, the child, and the agency were all represented by counsel.

[ 302 Pa. Super. Page 372]

The trial court directed that the custody dispute be consolidated with the dependency hearing; and, therefore, an attorney also appeared on behalf of William Crystal and the Richardsons. The agency presented only one witness, a caseworker, who testified in support of the dependency petition. The Richardsons also presented testimony and called as a witness another caseworker with some knowledge of the child's history. Appellant and two witnesses on behalf of appellant testified in opposition to the petition. At the conclusion of the hearing, the court (1) found Janice to be a dependent child, and (2) awarded temporary custody to Arlene Richardson, subject to visitation by appellant. Timely appeals from both orders were filed. The appeal from the custody order, filed to No. 185 March Term, 1978, was dismissed per curiam on January 3, 1980, for failure to proceed. Consequently, only the appeal from the adjudication of Janice as a dependent child is presently before us for review.*fn2

In order to find a child "dependent" under the Juvenile Act, it must be shown that the child "is without proper parental care or control, subsistence as required by law, or

[ 302 Pa. Super. Page 373]

    other care or control necessary for his physical, mental, or emotional ...


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