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In the Interest of: A.N., A Minor v. Appeal of: A.N.

January 20, 2012


Appeal from the Order entered May 2, 2011 in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County Juvenile Division at No. CP-02-DP-0001257-2008

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Mundy, J.:

J. A34040/11



Appellant, A.N. (Child), a dependent male child born December 13, 1995, appeals from the order entered May 2, 2011, placing him at George Junior Republic Residential Treatment Facility. After careful review, we affirm.

The juvenile court accurately summarized the factual and procedural history of this case as follows.

[Child] (D.O.B. 12/13/95) is the natural son of B.N. ("Mother") and R.M. ("Father"). On July 26, 2005, A.N. was adjudicated dependent by the Court of Common Pleas of Washington County. His case was subsequently transferred to Allegheny County on June 4, 2008.

[Child] is 15 years of age, and was living with Father in Allegheny County at the time of entry of the subject order. He was enrolled in South Park High School, where he was completing his freshman year. [Child]'s older brother also resides with Father, while his younger sister resides with Mother in Washington County.*fn1 [Child]'s brother is currently the subject of a consent decree, while his sister is also dependant.*fn2

Both parents, and particularly Mother, have a long history of drug and alcohol abuse and domestic violence. All individual family members have received a multitude of services over the span of many years. At the August 9, 2010 Permanency Review Hearing it was revealed that [Child] was using marijuana, was disrespectful and defiant at home, and was failing to follow household rules.*fn3 [The juvenile court] ordered, inter alia, that [Child] be returned to his Father's care and that he follow all recommendations issued by the Allegheny Forensic Associates ("AFA") evaluator, upon the completion of the evaluation.

In September 2010, the AFA evaluations, conducted by Dr. Terry O'Hara, were completed.

The AFA report disclosed, inter alia, that [Child] admitted to marijuana and alcohol use. [Child] also reported that he had failed math and science during the past school year, but had taken those subjects in summer school and passed them. The evaluator opined that [Child]'s low achievement scores were historically related to his missing school and/or not taking school seriously. He did not believe that [Child] suffered from a learning disorder. The evaluator recommended, inter alia, that in home services continue to work in Father's home and that

A.N. obtain substance abuse treatment.

At the October 18, 2010 Permanency Review Hearing, the caseworker testified that [Child] continued to use marijuana and was again failing several classes. [The juvenile c]court ordered, inter alia, that [Child] receive a drug and alcohol evaluation, follow all recommendations of the evaluator, and improve his grades.

A Family Service Plan ("FSP") was implemented on December 1, 2010 which included, inter alia, the following goals: 1, to achieve and maintain recovery from substance abuse problems; this included [Child] attending intensive out-patient treatment three (3) times per week; 2. to stabilize mental health problems; this included [Child]

complying with all treatment recommendations of the AFA evaluator; 3. to maintain contact and cooperation with CYF and service providers, and; 4. to attend and perform satisfactorily in school. This included [Child]'s daily attendance with no unexcused absences or tardies, the completion of all homework, and obtaining passing grades in all classes.

At the December 13, 2010 Permanency Review Hearing, the testimony revealed that [Child] had obtained a D & A evaluation, wherein it was recommended that he attend outpatient treatment three (3) times per week. [Child], however, had failed to attend the outpatient treatment, alleging that he had no transportation, but admitting that he had made little effort to attend. lt was further reported that [Child] was not doing well academically or behaviorally in school, had received several suspensions, and was causing daily class disruptions.

Finally, [Child] was disregarding his Father's household rules. [The juvenile c]court again ordered [Child] to obtain drug and alcohol treatment, and to improve his grades and behaviors, both in school and at home. At both the October and December hearings, [the juvenile c]court warned [Child] that if he did not comply with the [juvenile c]court's Orders, he would be placed in a residential facility.

Another Permanency Review Hearing took place on March 7, 2011. [Child] showed some academic improvement. However, he had seven (7) disciplinary referrals since the December review hearing, one of which occurred a mere two (2) days after that hearing. His misbehavior at home also continued; he stayed out all night, lied about his whereabouts to his Father, solicited marijuana on Facebook, caused damage to a business property (writing on walls of a laundromat and pulling [a] fire alarm - no charges were filed, however, as restitution was made), and Father discovered drug paraphernalia in his room. [Child] did commence drug and alcohol treatment at Mon Yough on January 18, 2011, but tested positive for THC on the day of the hearing.

CYF recommended that [Child] be immediately placed in shelter pending appropriate placement in a group home. [The juvenile c]court permitted [Child] to remain with Father, but ordered that he attend the Academy Day and Evening Program, and participate in its drug and alcohol program.

CYF subsequently filed a Motion on April 18, 2011, to expedite [Child]'s review hearing date as he was not attending the Academy. [The juvenile c]court granted the motion and gave CYF permission to post [Child] for placement in a facility with an on- ground school.

At the expedited review hearing of May 2, 2011, the testimony confirmed that [Child] had refused to attend the Academy as ordered. In fact, after attending only two (2) days [Child] unilaterally decided not to return, as he considered ...

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