December 3, 2013
IN RE: K.S.J., APPEAL OF: C.J., MOTHER IN RE: S.R.J., APPEAL OF: C.J., MOTHER IN RE: D.I.J., MINOR CHILD APPEAL OF: C.J., MOTHER IN RE: C.M.M.J., APPEAL OF: C.J., MOTHER
Appeal from the Order Entered May 10, 2013 In the Court of Common Pleas of Wayne County Domestic Relations at No(s): 4-2012-AD, 5-2012-AD, 6-2012-AD, 8-2012-AD
BEFORE: GANTMAN, J., DONOHUE, J., AND OLSON, J.
Appellant, C.J. ("Mother"), appeals from the order entered in the Wayne County Court of Common Pleas, which involuntarily terminated Mother's parental rights to her four minor children, K.S.J., S.R.J., D.I.J., and C.M.M.J. ("Children"). We affirm.
In it opinions, the trial court fully and correctly set forth the relevant facts of this case. Therefore, we have no reason to restate them.
Procedurally, on August 27, 2012, Wayne County Children and Youth Services ("CYS") filed petitions for involuntary termination of Mother and Father's parental rights as to four of their minor children. The court held hearings on the petitions on March 5, 2013 and March 19, 2013. On May 10, 2013, the court entered an order involuntarily terminating Mother and Father's parental rights to K.S.J., S.R.J., D.I.J., and C.M.M.J. On June 4, 2013, Mother timely filed a notice of appeal, along with a concise statement of errors complained of on appeal pursuant to Pa.R.A.P. 1925(a)(2)(i).
Mother raises four issues for our review:
WHETHER THE COURT ERRED IN FINDING THAT CYS PROVED THE ELEMENTS OF TERMINATION WITH RESPECT TO 23 PA.C.S.A. § 2511(A)(1).
WHETHER THE COURT ERRED IN FINDING THAT MOTHER FAILED TO PERFORM HER PARENTAL DUTIES PURSUANT TO 23 PA.C.S.A. § 2511(A)(5).
WHETHER THE COURT ERRED IN FINDING THAT
TERMINATION WOULD BEST SERVE THE NEEDS AND WELFARE OF THE CHILDREN PURSUANT TO 23 PA.C.S.A. § 2511(A)(8).
WHETHER THE COURT ERRED IN FINDING THAT
TERMINATION WOULD BEST SERVE THE NEEDS AND WELFARE OF THE CHILDREN PURSUANT TO 23 PA.C.S.A. § 2511(B).
(Mother's Brief at 4).
The standard and scope of review applicable in termination of parental rights cases are 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 it would give to a jury verdict. We must employ a broad, comprehensive review of the record in order to determine whether the trial court's decision is supported by competent evidence.
Furthermore, we note that the trial court, as the finder of fact, is the sole determiner of the credibility of witnesses and all conflicts in testimony are to be resolved by [the] finder of fact. The burden of proof is on the party seeking termination to establish by clear and convincing evidence the existence of grounds for doing so.
The standard of clear and convincing evidence means testimony that is so clear, direct, weighty, and convincing as to enable the trier of fact to come to a clear conviction, without hesitation, of the truth of the precise facts in issue. We may uphold a termination decision if any proper basis exists for the result reached. If the trial court's findings are supported by competent evidence, we must affirm the court's decision, even though the record could support an opposite result.
In re Adoption of K.J., 936 A.2d 1128, 1131-32 (Pa.Super. 2007), appeal denied, 597 Pa. 718, 951 A.2d 1165 (2008) (internal citations omitted). See also In re Adoption of C.L.G., 956 A.2d 999, 1003-04 (Pa.Super. 2008) (en banc).
After a thorough review of the record, the briefs of the parties, the applicable law, and the comprehensive opinion of the Honorable Raymond L. Hamill, we conclude Mother's issues merit no relief. The trial court opinions discuss and properly dispose of the questions presented. (See Trial Court Opinion and Decree, filed May 10, 2013, at 7-17; Trial Court Opinion, filed June 19, 2013, at 4-10) (finding: (1) under Section 2511(a)(1), Mother did not regularly attend Children's medical appointments; Mother continues to smoke around Children even though D.I.J.'s doctor told Mother that D.I.J. should not be around cigarette smoke due to tumor in his ear; Mother failed to attend and participate in some Individualized Education Program meetings for Children; Mother missed visits with Children due to romantic relationship with man that was not Father; for period of at least six months prior to filing of termination petition, Mother demonstrated failure to perform parental duties; (2) under Section 2511(a)(5), Children have been removed from Mother's care for longer than six months; Mother is unable to provide appropriate supervision or safe environment for Children; Mother has been and would be unable to prevent Children from being perpetrators and/or victims of sexual abuse against each other; specifically, one of Mother's children, A.J., perpetrated sexual abuse against some or all of Children after Mother and Father had signed safety plan stating that A.J. could not be left unsupervised with Children; Mother is unable to rectify overly sexual atmosphere in her home or to implement sexual boundaries; Mother does not understand or appreciate extent and prevalence of sexual offending that has occurred in her home and which could occur again; conditions which led to Children's removal continue to exist; Mother will not be able to remedy those conditions where she cannot supervise Children properly or protect them from future abuse notwithstanding inordinate amount of services and assistance CYS provided to Mother; Children have made strides in their respective placements away from Mother; termination of Mother's parental rights best serves interests of Children; (3) under Section 2511(a)(8), Children have been removed from Mother's care for three years; Children's need for permanent and stable family environment takes precedence over Mother's recent professed "willingness" to avail herself of resources, which she has had ample time to utilize; conditions which led to removal of Children continue to exist; whatever bond remains between Mother and Children is negative and harmful to development of Children; termination of Mother's parental rights would best serve needs and welfare of Children; and (4) under Section 2511(b), Mother has demonstrated inability to protect Children from perpetrating and/or becoming victims of sexual abuse; whatever bond remains between Mother and Children is negative and harmful to their development; Children continue to exhibit troubling behavioral patterns Mother will be unable to address; Mother is not capable of preventing further sexual abuse from occurring within home or providing stable and nurturing environment for Children; termination of Mother's parental rights is in Children's best interests). Accordingly, we affirm on the basis of the trial court's opinions.