IN RE: S.M.R. (1) APPEAL OF: Z.R., MOTHER IN RE: S.M.R. (2) APPEAL OF: Z.R., MOTHER IN RE: S.M.R. (3) APPEAL OF: Z.R., MOTHER IN RE: S.M.R. (4) APPEAL OF: Z.R., MOTHER
Appeal from the Order entered March 28, 2013, in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Family Court, at No(s): 51-FN-469709-2009, CP-51-AP-0000362-2012, CP-51-AP-0000363-2012, CP-51-AP-0000364-2012, CP-51-AP-0000365-2012, CP-51-DP-0082894-2009, CP-51-DP-0082896-2009, CP-51-DP-0082893-2009, CP-51-DP-0082895-2009
BEFORE: ALLEN, OTT, and COLVILLE[*], JJ.
Appellant, Z.R. ("Mother"), appeals from the orders dated March 28, 2013, granting the petitions filed by the Department of Human Services ("DHS"), which sought to involuntarily terminate Mother's parental rights to S.M.R. (1), S.M.R. (2), S.M.R. (3), and S.M.R. (4) (collectively "the Children"), pursuant to section 2511(a)(1), (2), (5), and (8), and (b). We affirm.
In its opinion entered on May 24, 2013, the trial court set forth the factual background and procedural history of this appeal, which we will not reiterate, except as necessary to understand our disposition of the appeal.
On August 5, 2009, DHS received a General Protective Services report that twenty-one-month-old S.R., Mother and Father's now deceased daughter, was taken to the hospital on August 4, 2009, and remained hospitalized in critical condition. Upon admission, the hospital found that S.R. had an elevated sodium chloride level, and suspected that the cause was non-accidental salt poisoning. The Children were also tested, and the results revealed that S.M.R. (1) and S.M.R. (2) also had elevated levels of sodium chloride. Mother has a history of several mental health diagnoses, including bipolar disorder, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, dissociation disorder, and anxiety. On August 6, 2009, DHS obtained an order of protective custody for the Children and S.R., and all five were hospitalized at St. Christopher's Hospital. The shelter care hearing was held on August 7, 2009, and S.R. remained hospitalized in the Intensive Care Unit in a vegetative state. The trial court ordered that S.R. and the Children remain in the custody of DHS, and the parents were not to have contact with S.R. and the Children or hospital staff. On August 17, 2009, the trial court ordered that S.R. was to be taken off life support, and S.R. passed away within a few hours.
On February 17, 2010, DHS had a Family Service Plan ("FSP") meeting where the goals outlined for Mother were: (1) to participate in a forensic evaluation and comply with recommendations; (2) to participate in a bonding evaluation and comply with the recommendations; (3) to refrain from bringing gifts, candy, food, or drinks for the Children to the evaluation; (4) to refrain from physical contact with the Children during the evaluation unless initiated by the Children as per court order; and (5) to understand how and why the Children were injured and recognize why they came into care. On August 10, 2010, DHS added to Mother's FSP goals: (1) to participate in bi-weekly therapeutic agency visitations; and (2) to remain compliant with medication management, to attend individual therapy, and to seek supportive services.
On October 28, 2010, DHS referred Mother to the Achieving Reunification Center ("ARC"), and she completed an intake and orientation on November 2, 2010. ARC recommended that Mother complete parenting education, financial counseling, anger management, Women's Employment, and OCI job training to assist her in meeting her FSP goals.
On April 11, 2011, DHS added additional FSP objectives: (1) to participate in supervised biweekly visits with the Children; and (2) to locate and occupy suitable housing for the family.
At a permanency hearing on July 27, 2011, Mother was found to be compliant with the permanency plan after completing parenting and anger management programs. Mother was referred to the Philadelphia Housing Authority for housing assistance and ARC. Mother's visitation was modified to bi-weekly supervised visitation on alternate weeks since Mother and Father had separated. On July 27, 2011, at an aggravated circumstances hearing, the trial court found aggravated circumstances existed in the form of aggravated physical neglect of the Children, constituting abuse.
On July 5, 2012, DHS filed petitions for the involuntary termination of Mother's parental rights to the Children and to change the goals to adoption. On March 28, 2013, the trial court held a hearing on the termination petitions, and on that same day, the trial court entered its orders terminating Mother's parental rights pursuant to 23 Pa.C.S.A. § 2511(a)(1), (2), (5), (8) and (b).
On April 25, 2013, Mother timely filed notices of appeal, along with concise statements of errors complained of on appeal pursuant to Pa.R.A.P. 1925(a)(2)(i) and (b). This Court consolidated the cases sua sponte on May 30, 2013.
On appeal, Mother raises the following issue:
1. Did the trial court err in determining that it was in the best interest of the Children to terminate [M]other's parental rights given that [M]other had completed all of her FSP goals, had a strong bond with her children and had been ...