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ADOPTION J.J. APPEAL JAMES PHILLIPS v. CHILDREN AND YOUTH SERVICES DELAWARE COUNTY (09/01/87)

filed: September 1, 1987.

IN RE ADOPTION OF J.J. APPEAL OF JAMES PHILLIPS, NATURAL FATHER. JAMES PHILLIPS, APPELLANT
v.
CHILDREN AND YOUTH SERVICES OF DELAWARE COUNTY



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County, Orphans' Court Division, No. 140 of 1980. Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County, Civil Action No. 81-13043.

COUNSEL

Carl Oxhold III, Philadelphia, for appellant.

Alfred J. Mattei, Media, for appellee (at 2793).

Cirillo, President Judge, and Cavanaugh, Wieand, Popovich, Montgomery, Hoffman and Cercone, JJ. Cavanaugh, Wieand, Montgomery, Hoffman and Cercone, JJ., concur in result.

Author: Cirillo

[ 366 Pa. Super. Page 96]

This is an appeal from an order terminating a father's parental rights and from an order denying a petition for visitation rights.

Appellant, James Phillips, is the alleged father of J.J., born on December 19, 1979 to Marie J. On December 31, 1979, protective custody of J.J. was awarded to appellee Children and Youth Services of Delaware County ("CYS"), because Marie was involuntarily committed to Haverford State Hospital. Marie's parental rights were terminated on December 15, 1980 because of an incapacity to perform

[ 366 Pa. Super. Page 97]

    parental duties. CYS filed a petition to terminate James parental rights on January 23, 1981 because the agency wished to place J.J. for adoption.

Appellant's rights were terminated pursuant to ยงยง 2511(a)(2) and (a)(5) of the Adoption Act following a hearing before the Honorable Francis J. Catania. At the hearing, it was established that J.J. had been in the custody of CYS since birth. James had never assumed any parental responsibility nor given or offered support for the child. In April of 1980, appellant questioned his paternity and said he wanted to take a fertility test to determine if he was truly the father. He wondered whether Marie's statements that she had been artificially inseminated by the Duponts or Jimmy Carter were true.

Peter Spengeman, the social worker assigned to the case, testified that prior to J.J.'s first birthday, appellant did visit the child but only in the company and at the insistence of Marie, the natural mother. During these visits, James never called the child by his name, never hugged him and often teased him in a cruel manner. Appellant also told Mr. Spengeman that he had no plans to take care of J.J. and had no interest in doing so or in accepting any services from CYS to remedy the situation.

James has also been admitted to Haverford State Hospital three times since 1979 for chronic schizophrenia. At the hearing, his doctor testified that if James failed to take his medication, his illness could become more active.

Based upon this record, Judge Catania found that the grounds for terminating James' parental rights were proven by the requisite standard of clear and convincing evidence. In a separate proceeding, James requested the right to visit J.J. pending appeal of the ...


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