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In re S.R.D.

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

October 9, 2013

IN RE: S.R.D., JR., APPEAL OF: S.R.D., JR., IN RE: C.J.S. APPEAL OF: C.J.S.,

NON-PRECEDENTIAL DECISION

Appeal from the Order October 17, 2012 in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Orphans' Court at No(s): TPR 149 of 2011

Appeal from the Order October 25, 2012 in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Orphans' Court at No(s): TPR 150 of 2011

BEFORE: BENDER, MUNDY, and STRASSBURGER JJ.

MEMORANDUM

STRASSBURGER, J.

S.R.D., Jr., a minor born in March 2010, through his court-appointed guardian ad litem (GAL), appeals from the order of October 17, 2012, which denied the petition filed by the Allegheny County Office of Children, Youth, and Families (CYF) to terminate the parental rights of M.J. (Mother) and S.D. (Father). C.J.S., a minor born in June 2008, through his court-appointed GAL, appeals from the order of October 25, 2012, which denied the petition filed by CYF to terminate the parental rights of Mother. We affirm.

Mother and J.S.[1] are the biological parents of C.J.S. Mother and Father are the biological parents of S.R.D., Jr. On the day after S.R.D., Jr.'s birth, CYF became involved with this family because Mother and S.R.D., Jr. both tested positive for marijuana. CYF created a safety plan after an initial assessment. At that time, Mother was residing with family members.

On May 5, 2010, Mother entered treatment, but did not complete that program successfully, and was discharged on May 20, 2010 due to non-attendance. Mother then entered another treatment program on June 15, 2010, but did not complete that program successfully either and was discharged on July 7, 2010, again due to non-attendance.

On July 16, 2010, CYF investigated an anonymous report that Mother had disciplined C.J.S. (who was then two) by choking him.[2] Both children were placed with members of Father's family, specifically in the home of T.C. On July 23, 2010, Mother attempted to take the children from that home, which led to the children being adjudicated dependent by the trial court. On July 28, 2010, the court conducted a shelter hearing, and formally placed children with T.C. Both children were adjudicated dependent on August 23, 2010 and remained in the care of T.C., until she informed the trial court she could no longer care for the children. The children were then placed with T.B., a member of Mother's family, on September 10, 2010.

On September 13, 2010, the trial court conducted another shelter hearing and both children were returned to Mother, who was living in Debra House, a structured residential facility for homeless women and their children. The trial court ordered that CYF was to obtain emergency custody authorization if Mother left Debra House prematurely. Furthermore, Father was not to have contact with children until he was assessed by CYF.

On September 27, 2010, Debra House reported to CYF that Mother and children had not returned from a weekend pass. After learning that Mother and children were with Father, CYF obtained emergency custody and placed Children in an Auberle foster home with V.F.

On November 22, 2011, CYF petitioned to terminate Mother's and J.S.'s parental rights to C.J.S. pursuant to 23 Pa.C.S. §§ 2511(a)(1), (2), (5), (8), and (b). On the same day, CYF filed petitions to terminate Mother's and Father's parental rights to S.R.D., Jr., pursuant to 23 Pa.C.S. §§ 2511(a)(1), (2), (5), (8), and (b). Hearings were conducted on August 22, 2012 and October 17, 2012.[3] At that point in time, children were still in the pre-adoptive home of V.F.

At the hearing, the CYF caseworker testified that, inter alia, Mother was at most moderately compliant with her family service plan goals and Father was minimally compliant with his. They never progressed beyond supervised visitation. Although Mother obtained stable housing as of January 2012, she had still not made progress toward resolving her mental health or drug issues. Father had also made little progress with his mental health and drug issues.

At the close of the hearing on October 17, 2012, the trial court granted CYF's petition to terminate J.S.'s parental rights to C.J.S. N.T., 10/27/2012, at 91. As to the other petitions filed by CYF to terminate Mother's parental rights to the children, and Father's parental rights to S.R.D., Jr., the trial court denied those petitions concluding that CYF did not present clear and convincing evidence that the conditions ...


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