Appeal from the Order Entered September 4, 2013 in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County Family Court at No(s): CP-51-AP-0000377-2012, CP-51-DP-0123466-2009, CP-51-AP-0000378-2012, CP-51-DP-0123465-2009, CP-51-AP-0000379-2012 CP-51-DP-0123467-2009
BEFORE: ALLEN, STABILE, and STRASSBURGER, [*] JJ.
G.T. (Father) appeals from the order entered on September 4, 2013, which terminated involuntarily his parental rights to his children, S.A.T. (born in March of 2002), M.D.S. (born in February of 2000), and G.L.T. (born in October of 2003) (collectively "the Children"). We affirm.
The trial court summarized the background underlying this matter in the following manner.
[Father has been incarcerated since March of 2009.] On December 12, 2009, the Department of Human Services (DHS) received a General Protective Services (GPS) report that [the Children's natural mother, M.S., (Mother)] and [the C]hildren were living in deplorable conditions. The police had received a report of a breaking and entering at Mother's home; however, when the officers arrived, Mother refused to allow them to enter the home, requiring the officers to use force. Upon gaining entry, the police observed that the home was dirty and bug-infested, and there was no furniture aside from a few bare mattresses on the floor. The police observed buckets of feces scattered throughout the home and urine and feces covering the basement floor, presumably from two pitbulls found there. The [C]hildren appeared to be malnourished and improperly clothed.
DHS obtained an Order of Protective Custody (OPC) for the [C]hildren and placed them in foster care through Children's Choice. The [C]hildren were adjudicated dependent and committed to DHS. Father did not appear at the adjudicatory hearing. The initial Family Service Plan (FSP) meeting was held on January 8, 2010, at which time Father's objectives were to make his whereabouts known to DHS and attend a parenting class. The Order entered by the [trial c]ourt at the permanency hearing on May 12, 2010 indicated that Father had not been in contact with either the [C]hildren or DHS. At the hearing held on October 6, 2010, the [trial c]ourt found that Father was not in compliance with the permanency plan. On January 20, 2011, the [c]ourt noted that a Parent Locator Search (PLS) had been conducted for Father, the results of which were to be forwarded to Father's attorney.
The children were moved to the home of maternal uncle at the end of 2011, where they reside at present. [On August 9, 2012, DHS filed a petition to terminate the parental rights of Mother and Father.] The Honorable Thomas Nocella heard testimony regarding the termination of Father's parental rights on August 27, 2012, but held the Petition under advisement. It was noted at that time that Father was incarcerated in Jessup, Maryland. Father's attorney presented Certificates of Completion for Anger Management, All the Right Moves and Commitment to Change, which he completed while incarcerated.
At the permanency review hearing before th[e trial c]ourt on January 9, 2013, the [c]ourt noted that Father had been minimally compliant with the permanency plan. On September 4, 2013, [the trial c]ourt found clear and convincing evidence to terminate Father's parental rights pursuant to 23 Pa. C.S. §§ 2511(a)(1), (2), (5) & (8) and further found that pursuant to 23 Pa. C.S. § 2511(b), adoption would be in the best interest of [the Children].
Trial Court Opinion, 10/18/2013, at 2-4 (citations omitted).
Father timely filed a notice of appeal and attached to it a Pa.R.A.P. 1925(a)(2)(i) statement. The trial court subsequently issued an opinion. In his brief to this Court, Father contends that the trial court erred by terminating his parental rights because DHS failed to present sufficient evidence to prove that termination of his parental rights was proper pursuant to 23 Pa.C.S. §§ 2511(a)(1) or (b).
We consider Father's arguments mindful of the following.
In cases involving the termination of a parent's rights, our standard of review is limited to determining whether the order of the trial court is supported by competent evidence, and whether the trial court gave adequate consideration to the effect of such a decree on the welfare of the child.
Absent an abuse of discretion, an error of law, or insufficient evidentiary support for the trial court's decision, the decree must stand…. We must employ a broad, comprehensive review of the record in order to determine whether ...