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[U] In re Q.U.B.

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

August 20, 2013

IN THE MATTER OF: Q.U.B., Appellee APPEAL OF: N.B., MOTHER, Appellant IN THE MATTER OF: S.M.D.B., Appellee APPEAL OF: N.B., MOTHER, Appellant IN THE MATTER OF: Q.N.B.B., Appellee APPEAL OF: N.B., MOTHER, Appellant IN THE MATTER OF: S.M.B., Appellee APPEAL OF: N.B., MOTHER, Appellant

NON-PRECEDENTIAL DECISION

Appeal from the Order November 5, 2012 In the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County Juvenile Division at No(s): CP-51-AP-0000493-2012, CP-51-AP-0000494-2012, CP-51-AP-0000495-2012, CP-51-AP-0000496-2012.

BEFORE: BENDER, BOWES, and STRASSBURGER, [*] JJ.

MEMORANDUM

BOWES, J.

N.B. ("Mother") appeals the November 5, 2012 orders terminating her parental rights to her four daughters, Q.U.B., S.M.D.B., Q.N.B.B., and S.M.B., hereinafter collectively referred to as the children.[1] We affirm.

The Philadelphia Department of Human Services ("DHS") became involved with this family during August 2006, as a result of a general protective services report. Following an investigation, DHS initiated in-home services ("SCOH") for the four children.[2] However, after the services failed to alleviate the underlying issues, DHS obtained protective custody orders ("OPC") during 2009 and placed the children in its care. The children have remained in DHS care since December 1, 2009. They currently reside with their maternal aunt, who is an adoptive resource.[3]

After removing Mother's daughters from her care, DHS fashioned a Family Service Plan that required Mother to obtain adequate housing, complete parenting classes, attend supervised visitation, and complete mental health therapy. These goals have remained consistent throughout DHS's involvement. Mother's compliance with the FSP was substantial. She consistently attended bi-weekly visitation, [4] participated in mental health treatment, completed parenting courses, and eventually obtained adequate housing. Unfortunately for Mother, however, DHS determined that, despite her substantial compliance with the FSP goals, she nevertheless lacked the capacity to parent her daughters.

On October 11, 2012, DHS filed petitions to terminate Mother's parental rights to Q.U.B., S.M.D.B., Q.N.B.B., and S.M.B. pursuant to 23 Pa.C.S. § 2511(a)(1), (2), (5), (8) and (b). Counsel was appointed, and an evidentiary hearing occurred on November 5, 2012. During the hearing, DHS presented the testimony of the current DHS caseworker, Ike Onyekere, the girls' foster care caseworker, Julie Collis, and Stephen Miksic, Ph.D., who was qualified as an expert in the field of psychology, parenting capacity, and parental bonding evaluations. Mr. Onyekere outlined Mother's FSP goals and her interaction with the agency. Ms. Collis testified that, while supervising Mother's visitations with the children, she observed Mother's inability to control her daughters' behavior or organize a simple activity for the family without substantial assistance. N.T., 11/5/12, at 59-61. She also testified that the girls would not suffer irreparable harm if Mother's rights were terminated. She explained that all of the children understand that they will maintain a degree of contact with Mother, and the younger children are either "very attached" or "primarily attached" to their caregiver, maternal aunt. Id. at 64, 67-70. Likewise, Dr. Miksic opined within a reasonable degree of psychological certainty that Mother lacked the capacity to parent her daughters and that the children did not share an emotional bond with Mother that would cause them significant emotional harm if Mother's rights were terminated. Id. at 9-12, 16, 19-20. At the close of the termination portion of the hearing, the trial court entered the above-referenced orders terminating Mother's parental rights to the four children pursuant to § 2511 (a)(2), (5), (8), and (b). These timely appeals followed, which we consolidated for argument sua sponte. Mother complied with Pa.R.A.P. 1925(a)(2)(i) by filing a statement of errors complained of on appeal concurrent with her notice of appeal.

She presents the following issues for our review:

1. Did the Trial Court err in terminating [Mother's] parental rights under Pa.C.S. Section 2511?
2.Did the Trial Court err in erred in [sic] finding that termination best served the children's developmental, physical and emotional needs under sub-section 2511(b)?

Mother's brief at vii.[5]

The pertinent scope and standard of review of an order terminating parental rights is as follows:

When reviewing an appeal from a decree terminating parental rights, we are limited to determining whether the decision of the trial court is supported by competent evidence. Absent an abuse of discretion, an error of law, or insufficient evidentiary support for the trial court's decision, the decree must stand. Where a trial court has granted a petition to involuntarily terminate parental rights, this Court must accord the hearing judge's decision the same deference that we would give to a jury verdict. We must employ a ...

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