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[U] In re J.M.D.

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

August 9, 2013

IN THE INTEREST OF: J.M.D., A MINOR
v.
APPEAL OF: M.A.D., MOTHER IN THE INTEREST OF: W.A.D., JR., A MINOR APPEAL OF: M.A.D., MOTHER

NON-PRECEDENTIAL DECISION

Appeal from the Order entered January 30, 2013, in the Court of Common Pleas of Centre County, Civil Division, at No.: CP-14-DP-8-2011

Appeal from the Order entered January 30, 2013, in the Court of Common Pleas of Centre County, Juvenile Division, at No.: CP-14-DP-0000009-2011

BEFORE: DONOHUE, WECHT, and COLVILLE [*] , JJ.

MEMORANDUM

WECHT, J.

M.A.D. ("Mother") appeals from the orders of court dated January 29, 2013, and entered on January 30, 2013, which changed the permanency goals for her dependent sons, W.A.D., Jr., ("W.A.D.") (born in July of 2008) and J.M.D. (born in January of 2010) (collectively "the Children"), from reunification to adoption. See 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 6351. Following review, we affirm.

In 2010, Centre County Children and Youth Services ("CYS") began to receive referrals concerning Mother, although CYS previously had contact with Mother following W.A.D.'s birth. CYS received reports that Mother failed to properly supervise the Children for periods of time and failed to secure responsible adult supervision for the Children during periods of her absence.[1] For instance, on June 6, 2010, Mother left the Children unattended while she drove her then-boyfriend to his place of residence. Notes of Testimony ("N.T."), 2/22/11, at 20. At that time, a neighbor called police, who gained entry to Mother's residence and found the Children asleep. Mother testified that she had asked a neighbor to watch the Children, but a miscommunication resulted in the Children not being supervised. Id. at 20-22. As a result of this incident, Mother was arrested and pleaded guilty to endangering the welfare of a child. She received a sentence of probation. Id. at 25-26.

In addition, on September 21, 2010, Mother left her home in order to chase J.M.D., her younger son, who had run from her home toward a neighbor's house. At the time, Mother had left W.A.D. inside her residence in his highchair. Id. at 23. W.A.D. was discovered unattended by a Parenting Plus representative. Id.

On February 7, 2011, CYS filed dependency petitions for W.A.D. and J.M.D.. On February 22, 2011, the trial court adjudicated the Children dependent. Id. at 24-26. However, the Children were not taken from Mother's home at that time. Instead, the trial court ruled that the Children would be removed and placed in the custody and control of CYS, only if they were left without adult supervision again. Id. at 26-27.

On August 10, 2012, at Mother's housing complex, W.W., Mother's then paramour, now fiancé, was supervising the Children in a common area filled with many adults and children, while Mother cooked dinner inside the residence. At the time, W.W. also was holding baby B.W., the biological daughter of Mother and W.W. and the Children's half-sister. B.W. threw up on W.W., who then stepped inside Mother's residence to clean off the vomit. W.W. testified that he believed that the other adults in the common area would monitor the Children. N.T., 10/24/2011, at 11-12. However, as W.W. stepped back outside, a neighbor informed him that J.M.D. had stepped off the curb into the parking lot. Id. at 13. A relative of that neighbor, who had been present, testified that J.M.D. had nearly been struck by a vehicle in the parking lot. N.T., 8/12/11, at 7. An argument developed between W.W. and the individuals who returned J.M.D. to W.W.'s care. Shortly thereafter, a referral was made to CYS, and the Children were placed in the custody and control of the agency pursuant to the earlier court order. N.T., 2/22/2011, at 43.

Following the Children's placement, services were offered through Family Intervention Crisis Services ("FICS"), with the goal of reunifying the Children with their natural parents. N.T., 1/26/12, at 6. Initially, FICS engaged in regular supervised visits. Later, FICS conducted planned and unannounced visits at Mother's residence. Id. at 7. FICS established three major goals for Mother: (1) to promote the healthy growth and development of the Children; (2) to maintain a safe and clean home environment; and (3) for Mother and W.W. to explore and improve their relationship in order to create a stable environment for themselves and the Children.

Incidents involving the Children's health and safety continued to arise throughout the reunification period, during which time Mother worked toward reunification. A FICS caseworker stated that J.M.D. got away from Mother in a public park. N.T., 1/29/13, at 105. In addition, at a doctor's appointment, Mother did not adequately supervise the Children and left them with FICS case workers in order to retrieve a snack for them from her vehicle. N.T., 12/13/12, at 59-63.

During the Children's placement, disagreements developed between W.W. and FICS and CYS personnel concerning the efforts that were being made concerning reunification and W.W.'s refusal to accede to their directives. Id. at 63-64. FICS began to consider W.W.'s vocal disagreements with their directives as safety risks to baby B.W. These disagreements contributed to the agency's position that the Children's permanency goals should be changed from reunification to adoption.

In July of 2012, CYS filed petitions requesting that the permanency goals of the Children be changed from reunification to adoption, which the trial court denied. CYS renewed these petitions before the next permanency hearing. By order on January 30, 2013, the trial court granted CYS's petitions ...


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