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PATRICIA S. APPEAL PATRICIA RYAN (04/06/84)

filed: April 6, 1984.

IN THE INTEREST OF PATRICIA S. APPEAL OF PATRICIA RYAN, FOSTER MOTHER


No. 574 Pittsburgh, 1982, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, at No. J 214 of 1980

COUNSEL

Arnold H. Cantor, Pittsburgh, for appellant.

Mark P. Cancilla, Pittsburgh, for appellee.

James A. Esler, Assistant County Solicitor, for participating party.

Spaeth, Brosky and Montgomery, JJ.

Author: Brosky

[ 326 Pa. Super. Page 435]

The threshold question before us in this appeal is whether, after notice of intent to adopt has been filed, the Orphans' Court Division of the Court of Common Pleas has exclusive jurisdiction to determine the custody of a minor child who is the subject of the adoption proceeding. We conclude that under the circumstances present in this case the Orphans' Court did not have exclusive power to determine the custody question. We further conclude that the custody order entered below should be affirmed.

Patricia Marie (Patty), the child who is the subject of these proceedings, was born on December 19, 1979 out of wedlock. On February 20, 1980 Patty was adjudicated dependent, having been diagnosed as a "failure to thrive"*fn1 baby. The lower court explained in its opinion that at the time Patty was adjudicated dependent she was placed in the

[ 326 Pa. Super. Page 436]

Parental Stress Center program, which is sponsored by Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. A child who participates in the program lives in residential placement under the care of a professional staff. The parents visit daily and undergo supervision and parental training.

The court said in its opinion that it was contemplated that Patty would be returned to the custody of her parents following their successful completion of the program. Unfortunately, Patty's parents did not complete the program and on June 25, 1980 Patty was placed in the custody of appellant under the supervision of Children and Youth Services of Allegheny County (CYS).

On December 23, 1981 Patty's father petitioned the Court to return custody to him.*fn2

A hearing on the father's petition was held on January 13, 1982 following which the court issued an order extending review of the case to May 5, 1982 and directing that a CYS plan to return Patty to the custody of ...


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