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[U] In re Adoption of P.A.B.

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

July 10, 2013

IN THE MATTER OF THE ADOPTION OF: P.A.B. APPEAL OF: M.N.W., Natural Mother Appellant IN THE MATTER OF THE ADOPTION OF: K.N.W. APPEAL OF: M.N.W., Natural Mother Appellant IN THE MATTER OF THE ADOPTION OF: T.V.H. APPEAL OF: M.N.W., Natural Mother Appellant IN THE MATTER OF THE ADOPTION OF: A.R.G. APPEAL OF: M.N.W., Natural Mother Appellant

NON-PRECEDENTIAL DECISION

Appeal from the Decree entered December 19, 2012 in the Court of Common Pleas of Erie County, Orphans' Court Division, at No. 30 In Adoption 2012

Appeal from the Decree entered December 19, 2012 in the Court of Common Pleas of Erie County, Orphans' Court Division, at No. 30A In Adoption 2012

Appeal from the Decree entered December 19, 2012 in the Court of Common Pleas of Erie County, Orphans' Court Division, at No. 30B In Adoption 2012

Appeal from the Decree entered December 19, 2012 in the Court of Common Pleas of Erie County, Orphans' Court Division, at No. 30C In Adoption 2012

BEFORE: STEVENS, P.J., BOWES and MUSMANNO, JJ.

MEMORANDUM

MUSMANNO, J.

In these consolidated appeals, M.N.W. ("Mother") appeals from the Decrees that granted the Petitions filed by the Erie County Office of Children and Youth ("OCY" or "the Agency"), seeking to involuntarily terminate Mother's parental rights to her four children, P.A.B., a seven year-old boy; K.N.W., a two year-old girl; T.V.H., an eleven year-old girl; and A.R.G., an eight year-old girl (collectively "the Children"), pursuant to 23 Pa.C.S.A. § 2511(a)(1), (2), (5), and (b).[1] We affirm.

The trial court set forth the relevant history underlying this appeal as follows:

The [C]hildren came to the attention of [OCY] on August 25, 2011, when [Mother] contacted OCY. [Mother] requested services as she was being evicted from her apartment after being incarcerated. [Mother] was briefly incarcerated for a domestic incident when she stabbed her boyfriend in the course of an argument in May of 2011. The boyfriend refused to press charges and [Mother] was released.
Due to the eviction notice, [Mother] requested help locating housing. OCY assisted [Mother] and the [C]hildren with a five-day stay at a hotel and a food order. The Erie County Homeless Program assisted [Mother] and [the C]hildren with an additional eight-day stay at a hotel.
On September 6, 2011, OCY received a call stating [that] the [C]hildren were in the care of [Mother's] paternal grandmother as [Mother] had attempted suicide by overdosing on Klonopin[, ] which she [had illegally] purchased off the street. [Mother] was involuntarily committed to Millcreek Community Hospital. [Mother] was diagnosed with a mood disorder and instructed to follow-up with services at Stairways Behavioral Health.
On September 12, 2011, [Mother] requested voluntary placement of the [C]hildren due to her inability to meet the [C]hildren's basic needs. At the time of the voluntary placement, none of the fathers were available to care for the [C]hildren. … The [C]hildren were placed in foster care and kinship care.
[Mother] had been involved with OCY on three prior occasions due to homelessness, drug abuse, mental health issues and a conviction for federal charges of dealing drugs. Due to her history, OCY requested [that Mother] participate in random urinalyses in September of 2011. [Mother] tested positive for marijuana on September 13, 2011[, ] and September 14, 2011.
[Mother] was involved with OCY as a teen parent from 1996 until 2000. … On July 15, 2004, OCY received a referral [that Mother] was pregnant [with A.R.G.] and smoking marijuana. She was also hitting and swearing at her three-year[-]old daughter[, T.V.H.]. [Mother] acknowledged parent-child relationship problems and admitted to smoking marijuana prior to her pregnancy. The matter was closed with OCY in March of 2005[, ] as [Mother had] cooperated with in-home services.
On August 29, 2005, [Mother] pled guilty to federal charges of Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute [cocaine]. On February 15, 2006, [Mother] was sentenced to three months of incarceration followed by three years of supervised release. [Mother] was placed on supervised release on October 24, 2006. [Mother's supervised release] was revoked on February 22, 2007, and [she was] sentenced to five months of incarceration followed by two years of supervised release. [Mother] petitioned for supervised release [on] September 4, 2007, but failed to appear for the hearing on September 19, 2007. A warrant for her arrest was issued. [Mother] again was revoked from supervised release and sentenced to thirty-one months of incarceration on September 25, 2007. [Mother] also has a criminal history of numerous state traffic and non-traffic offenses from 2004 through 2006.
On November 15, 2005, OCY received a referral [that Mother had] tested positive for cocaine while she was pregnant with P.A.B. After her federal sentencing on February 15, 2006[, ] and after her revocations from supervised release in February of 2007 and September of 2007, the [C]hildren lived with various relatives. [] P.A.B.[] spent very little time with [Mother] after his birth due to [Mother's] periods of incarceration. [] T.V.H., A.R.G. and P.A.B.[] lived with [Mother's] maternal grandmother until the spring of 2011[, ] when T.V.H. and A.R.G. returned to [Mother's] care. [] K.N.W.[] was also living with [Mother]. [] P.A.B.[] remained with [Mother's] maternal grandmother as [Mother] was attempting to bond with him after her prolonged absences due to incarceration.
On October 10, 2010, OCY received a referral regarding [Mother, ] as [] K.N.W.[] was born exposed to marijuana. [A case was opened regarding Mother and the Agency offered] various services [to Mother]. The case was closed in May of 2011[, due to Mother's] cooperat[ion] with [A]gency services. Within two weeks of case closure, [Mother], while high on K2, stabbed her boyfriend. [Mother] was incarcerated at the Erie County Prison and the [C]hildren again went to live with relatives. …
Subsequently, [upon Mother's release from prison, she] requested voluntary placement of the [C]hildren …. [and they] were placed in [foster care and kinship care].

Trial Court Opinion, 12/19/12, at 2-5 (footnotes and citation omitted).

The trial court explained the permanency matters relating to the Children and Mother as follows:

The [C]hildren were adjudicated dependent on September 29, 2011 …. The Dispositional Permanency Hearing[] was held on October 26, 2011. A goal of reunification was established. [Mother was] ordered to participate in a drug and alcohol assessment and random urinalyses; refrain from the use of drugs and alcohol; attend a parenting program; participate in a mental health evaluation and any indicated treatment; [and] secure safe and stable housing and employment. [Additionally, Mother was ordered] to attend supervised visits with the [C]hildren upon a showing of thirty days of clean urines. [Mother] was to complete the Erie County Dependency Treatment Court program. …
A permanency hearing was held March 21, 2012. [Mother's] compliance with the reunification Order was negligible[.] … [Mother had] minimally participated in and did not complete the Dependency Treatment Court program. [Mother] appeared at Treatment Court on November [10], 2011[, ] to observe the proceedings. Thereafter, [Mother] was to attend weekly sessions. Her next appearance at Treatment Court was for two sessions in January of 2012[, ] and one on February 2, 2011. [Mother] admitted continuing abuse of marijuana and K2 (synthetic marijuana) to the treatment team. [Mother] last appeared at Treatment Court on February 9, 2012. [Mother] was unsuccessfully discharged from Treatment Court on March 15, 2012, due to lack of compliance.
Though [Mother] participated in a drug and alcohol assessment, she did not follow through with any treatment recommendations. [Mother] was unable to refrain from the use of drugs. [Mother] tested positive for K2 on September 9, 12, and 19 of 2011[, ] and January 2 and 6, 2012. She was a no- show for 67 scheduled urine drops; to [OCY's] knowledge, a failure to appear for a urine drop is determined to be a "dirty urine[, ]" i.e.[, ] positive for drugs.
[Mother] attended two parenting classes in January of 2012[, ] but did not successfully complete the program. [Mother] did not obtain employment. [Mother] did not address her mental health issues. No visits occurred[, ] as [Mother had] admitted to drug abuse during this time period.
[Mother] did not obtain stable, independent housing. Since November of 2011, [Mother] lived off and on with various family members and friends. [Mother] refused to enter a shelter program or consider admission to the Mercy Center for Women, a residential program. Instead, [Mother] chose to live with her paramour, [D.H.], and his mother. [D.H.] was on state parole supervision for DUI and drug charges.
The permanency goal was changed to adoption as there was no progress toward alleviating the circumstances [that] led to the placement of the [C]hildren.

Trial Court Opinion, 12/19/12, at 5-7 (citations omitted).

On June 7, 2012, OCY filed Petitions seeking the involuntary termination of Mother's parental rights to the Children pursuant to sections 2511(a)(1), (2), (5), and (b). Subsequently, the trial court held a hearing on the termination Petitions, at which OCY presented the testimony of Melissa Renee Bible ("Bible"), a mental health forensic case manager with Erie County Care Management. N.T., 11/5/12, at 8. The trial court made the following factual determinations from Bible's testimony:

[Mother] was assessed for substance abuse and mental health treatment on November 10, 2011. [Id. at 9-10.] The treatment team concluded [that Mother] was in need of a dual diagnosis program to address [her] drug and alcohol issues and her mental health issues. [Id. at 10-11.] A 28-day in-patient dual diagnosis program at Deerfield was recommended. [Id.] [Mother] indicated to the treatment team [that] she would participate in this program at Deerfield. [Id. at 12-13.] In fact, [Mother] never showed up at Deerfield when a bed became available. [Id. at 13.]
The treatment team called [Mother] numerous times to reengage her in mental health services. [Id. at 14.] [Mother] was to attend Treatment Court weekly. [Id. at 15.] [Mother] failed to attend Treatment Court on a regular basis ...

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