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[U] In re M.B.

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

June 21, 2013

IN THE INTEREST OF M.B., A MINOR CHILD APPEAL OF: T.B., NATURAL MOTHER IN THE INTEREST OF B.M., A MINOR CHILD APPEAL OF: T.B., NATURAL MOTHER IN THE INTEREST OF D.B., A MINOR CHILD APPEAL OF: T.B., NATURAL MOTHER

NON-PRECEDENTIAL DECISION

Appeal from the Order Entered June 9, 2011 In the Court of Common Pleas of Fayette County Criminal Division at No. 53 Juvenile Court 2011, 55 Juvenile Court 2011, 54 Juvenile Court 2011.

BEFORE: BENDER, J., GANTMAN, J. AND OLSON, J.

MEMORANDUM

BENDER, J.

T.B. ("Mother") appeals from the orders dated June 1, 2011, and entered June 9, 2011 in the Court of Common Pleas of Fayette County, adjudicating dependent her three female children, M.B. (born in September of 2001), D.B. (born in November of 2008), and B.M. (born in July of 2009), pursuant to 42 Pa.C.S. § 6302. We affirm.

This case arises from an investigation by Fayette County Children and Youth Services ("FCCYS"). On May 14, 2011, Mother was alleged to have duct taped the mouths of the Children, photographed B.M. in that state, and sent that photograph to the Children's father, J.M. ("Father"), by cell phone. State police and FCCYS were contacted and investigated the incident.

That same day, FCCYS took custody of the Children pursuant to Mother's voluntary consent to placement. FCCYS could not find appropriate relatives with whom to place the Children at that time, and they were placed with a foster family. On May 31, 2011, FCCYS filed petitions for dependency. An adjudicatory hearing was held on June 1, 2011, and, by orders entered on June 9, 2011, the Children were adjudicated dependent, pursuant to 42 Pa.C.S. § 6302. On June 30, 2011, Mother simultaneously filed her notices of appeal and concise statements of error complained of on appeal, pursuant to Pa.R.A.P. 1925(a)(2)(i) and (b). This Court consolidated Mother's appeals, sua sponte, by order entered July 26, 2011.

On appeal, Mother raises one issue for our review:

Whether the honorable trial court erred in determining that the appellee, Fayette County Children and Youth Services, adduced sufficient evidence to meet the clear and convining [sic] evidentiary standard required to adjudicate [Mother's] three minor children dependent?

Mother's Brief at 3 (capitalization omitted).

appellate courts must employ an abuse of discretion standard of review, as we are not in a position to make the close calls based on fact-specific determinations. Not only are our trial judges observing the parties during the hearing, but usually . . . they have presided over several other hearings with the same parties and have a longitudinal understanding of the case and the best interests of the individual child involved. Thus, we must defer to the trial judges who see and hear the parties and can determine the credibility to be placed on each witness and, premised thereon, gauge the likelihood of the success of the current permanency plan. Even if an appellate court would have made a different conclusion based on the cold record, we are not in a position to reweigh the evidence and the credibility determinations of the trial court.

In re R.J.T., 9 A.3d 1179, 1190 (Pa. 2010).

It is well settled that a court:

is empowered by 42 Pa.C.S. ยง 6341(a) and (c) to make a finding that a child is dependent if the child meets the statutory definition by clear and convincing evidence. If the court finds that the child is dependent, then the court may make an appropriate disposition of the child to protect the child's physical, mental and moral welfare, including allowing the child to remain with the parents subject to supervision, transferring temporary legal custody to a relative ...

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