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In re A.T.

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

November 27, 2013

IN RE: A.T. APPEAL OF: THE PHILADELPHIA DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES

Appeal from the Order March 20, 2013 In the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County Family Court at No(s): CP-51-DP-0001240-2011.

Joseph D. Seletyn, Esq.

BEFORE: BOWES, J., DONOHUE, J., and OTT, J.

OPINION

OTT, J.

The Philadelphia Department of Human Services ("DHS") appeals from the order in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County that directed DHS to provide a laptop computer to A.T., a "dependent child" pursuant to section 6302 of the Juvenile Act ("Act"), 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 6301, et seq.[1] We affirm.[2]

The juvenile court adjudicated A.T. dependent on June 29, 2011, when she was seventeen years old, and placed her in the custody of DHS. DHS established a placement goal of Another Planned Permanent Living Arrangement ("APPLA"). The juvenile court held regular permanency hearings pursuant to section 6351 of the Act. The permanency review orders reveal that A.T. resided in a group home. During 2011-2012, she attended and completed 12th grade at Audenried High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. By July of 2012, A.T. was attending the Community College of Philadelphia ("CCP"). In addition, she was employed, attended individual and group therapy, and visited weekly with her two minor children, who were born prior to her adjudication. By October of 2012, A.T. was residing in a Supervised Independent Living Program through Valley Youth House, where she remained at the time of the subject proceedings. In addition, the permanency review orders reveal that during the entire time of her placement, A.T. maintained full compliance with her permanency plan.

At the permanency review hearing held before a master on January 11, 2013, A.T. testified that she is attending her second semester at CCP, and her classes include Spanish 102, English 102, and paralegal studies.[3]N.T., 1/11/13, at 5, 9. The Child Advocate advised the master that A.T. has a 3.0 average, and, further, that she needs a laptop computer. Id. At 5-6. Upon questioning by the master, A.T. testified she especially needs a computer for her English 102 class, because it is a research and writing class. Id. a 9-10. A.T.'s testimony continued as follows:

THE MASTER: Now, you have a computer available to you where?
THE CHILD: I can travel to Center City and get to AIC [Achieving Independence Center], provided that their computer lab is open or go to the computers at the Library, provided that they are open or CC[P], provided that they are open.
THEMASTER: Where do you live?
THECHILD: In West Philadelphia.
THEMASTER: How would you travel back and forth?
THECHILD: Usually the train and the bus.
THE MASTER: How much time does it take you to travel back and forth?
THE CHILD: To Center City, there are no buses that take me directly to the train from my house, so I would have to walk to the train, it's about 15 minutes, and the train ride is about a half hour.
THE MASTER: . . . Do you have work to do on the weekend, or are you able to get all your class work done during the day?
THE CHILD: I prefer to work on the weekends, because it is easier that way, I have all day to work on it.
THE MASTER: Has there ever been an occasion that you have gone to the computer la[b] at CCP and not been able to get on the computer?
THE CHILD: Yes.
THE MASTER: Has there ever been an occasion that you have gone to the Free Library and not been able to get on a computer?
THE CHILD: Yes.
THE MASTER: Has there ever been an occasion that you have gone to AIC and have not been able to get on a computer?
THE CHILD: Yes.
THE MASTER: Is that because it was closed or because there were other ...

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