Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

[U] In re M.S.J.

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

January 7, 2014

IN THE INTEREST OF: M.S.J., A MINOR APPEAL OF: T.J., MOTHER IN THE INTEREST OF: M.J., A MINOR APPEAL OF: T.J., MOTHER IN THE INTEREST OF: J.J.J., A MINOR APPEAL OF: T.J., MOTHER IN THE INTEREST OF: S.H., A MINOR APPEAL OF: T.J., MOTHER IN THE INTEREST OF: G.A.H.-J., A MINOR APPEAL OF: T.J., MOTHER

NON-PRECEDENTIAL DECISION

Appeal from the Decree entered May 21, 2013, in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Family Court at No(s): CP-51-AP-0000274-2013, CP-51-DP-0103022-2006, CP-51-AP-0000276-2013, CP-51-DP-0103021-2006, CP-51-AP-0000278-2013, CP-51-DP-0103019-2006, CP-51-AP-0000279-2013, CP-51-DP-0103020-2006, CP-51-AP-0000275-2013, CP-51-DP-0001662-2011.

BEFORE: BOWES, PANELLA, and FITZGERALD [*], JJ.

MEMORANDUM

FITZGERALD, J.

T.J. ("Mother") appeals from the decrees[1] entered in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas terminating her parental rights to her five minor children, M.S.J. (born July of 2005), M.J. (born in July of 2005), J.J.J. (born in August of 2002), S.H. (born in March of 2004) and G.A.H.-J., (born in March of 2007) (collectively, "Children"), pursuant to 23 Pa.C.S.A. § 2511(a)(1), (2), (5), (8) and (b).[2] We affirm.

The relevant facts and procedural history of this case are as follows.[3]On August 19, 2011, DHS received a General Protective Services ("GPS") report alleging that, on August 15, 2011, Mother had abandoned Children, who were found in a park near the intersection of 24th Street and Wharton Street in Philadelphia. DHS Pet. for Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights, Ex. A. at 21.[4] The GPS report alleged Children had been left in the park all day; they were wet and unkempt; and family members were unable to locate Mother. Id. The GPS report further alleged that Mother had abandoned Children before in March 2011; she used drugs, and she was unable to provide adequate housing and food for Children. Id. DHS investigations substantiated the allegations in the GPS report and, on August 19, 2011, DHS obtained Orders of Protective Custody for Children, who were then placed in foster care through Lutheran Children and Family Services ("LCFS"). Id.

On September 9, 2011, Children were adjudicated dependent and committed to DHS. Id. at 22. The court referred Mother to the Clinical Evaluation Unit ("CEU") for a drug screen, dual diagnosis assessment, and monitoring. The court ordered DHS to refer Mother to the Achieving Reunification Center ("ARC") program for a parenting capacity evaluation and reunification services. Id. On March 9, 2012, a permanency review hearing was held and it was reported that Mother did not attend visits with Children. Id. In April of 2012, Children were placed together through LCFS in a kinship care, pre-adoptive foster home of their maternal great-aunt and uncle, J.P. and M.P. ("Aunt and Uncle"), where Children have continuously resided. Id. On August 6, 2012, DHS held a Family Service Plan (FSP) meeting. The FSP set forth the goal of reunification and established the following parental objectives, inter alia, for Mother: (1) locate suitable housing; (2) not leave Children unattended; (3) achieve and maintain recovery from drug and alcohol problems; (4) comply with treatment recommendations; and (5) visit Children. Id. at 22-23.

On August 29, 2012, a permanency review hearing was held. After the hearing, the court ordered Children to remain as placed, referred Mother to the CEU for a drug screen, dual diagnosis assessment, and monitoring, and ordered Mother to comply with the CEU's resulting treatment recommendations. Id. at 23. Mother subsequently reported to the CEU for evaluation. The CEU recommended that Mother attend intensive outpatient treatment for substance abuse and scheduled an intake appointment for her at the Wedge Medical Center ("Wedge"). Id.

After Mother failed to attend her intake appointment at Wedge, DHS held a revised FSP meeting on January 31, 2013, and changed the permanency goal to adoption. Id. On May 3, 2013, DHS filed petitions for the involuntary termination of Mother's parental rights to Children, alleging the elements of 23 Pa.C.S.A. § 2511(a)(1), (2), (5), (8), and (b).[5]

On May 21, 2013, the trial court held a hearing on DHS' petitions. DHS social worker, Tonya Betancourt, testified to the following: Mother had not completed any of her FSP objectives. Specifically, Mother began but did not complete parenting classes, nor did she attend any of the housing counseling sessions at ARC. Upon giving birth to another child in March 2013, Mother advised DHS that her current housing was not appropriate for her newborn or Children. N.T., at 10-11, 14-16. Mother lacked progress regarding her substance abuse issues, and she began but did not complete an inpatient dual diagnosis program at the Gaudenzia House, and that, when she gave birth in March 2013, both Mother and her newborn tested positive for opiates. Id. at 8, 14. Mother failed to maintain consistent visitation with Children. For the first nine months of their placement, Mother never visited Children. Thereafter, following a period of two to three months of consistent visitation, Mother again "fell off, " visiting Children only two or three times in the six months prior to March 2013. Id. at 9-10.

Further, Jewish Families and Children Services ("JFCS") foster care worker, Comfort Akangbe, testified:

Since [Mother] started visiting in March [of 2013], she has been coming to the visits very high. I mean, she was not interacting with [Children], and she would sit there and nod off, and she couldn't keep her eyes open. It was of great concern for us and DHS.

Id. at 20.

At the conclusion of the hearing, the trial court terminated Mother's parental rights to Children pursuant to 23 Pa.C.S.A. ยง 2511(a)(1), (2), (5), (8) and (b). Mother simultaneously filed a timely notice of appeal and a concise statement of errors ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.