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[U] In re M.M.P.

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

February 12, 2014

IN THE INTEREST OF: M.M.P.
v.
APPEAL OF: L.O., MOTHER IN THE INTEREST OF: S.M.P. APPEAL OF: L.O., MOTHER

NON-PRECEDENTIAL DECISION

Appeal from the Decree entered September 9, 2013 in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Family Court, at No(s): CP-51-AP-000400-2013, CP-51-AP-000401-2013

BEFORE: BENDER, P.J.E., WECHT, J. and STRASSBURGER, [*] J.

MEMORANDUM

STRASSBURGER, J.

L.O. (Mother) appeals from the decrees of September 9, 2013, which confirmed the voluntary termination of her parental rights to her children, M.M.P. (born in February 2010) and S.M.P. (born in January 2011). We affirm.

The Philadelphia Department of Human Services (DHS) became aware of the family in February 2010, when Mother and M.M.P. tested positive for phencyclidine (PCP) at the time of M.M.P.'s birth. The following year, Mother gave birth to S.M.P. prematurely, and again both Mother and child tested positive for PCP. Both children were eventually committed to DHS, with custody residing in their paternal grandmother. At periodic permanency reviews, Mother was found minimally or substantially compliant with her goals, with her continued drug use remaining a problem.

A hearing eventually was scheduled for the trial court to consider a change of goal and involuntary termination of parental rights. On April 23, 2013, prior to the hearing, Mother signed petitions to terminate voluntarily her rights to M.M.P. and S.M.P. The previously-scheduled hearing was continued to give F.P. (Father) the opportunity to execute petitions to terminate voluntarily his parental rights, [1] and a goal-change hearing was scheduled for September 9, 2013.

Mother did not appear at the hearing; however, her counsel was present. Counsel informed the trial court that Mother had signed the petitions for voluntary relinquishment of her parental rights, and presented the DHS caseworker to confirm that Mother signed the documents, indicated that she understood the import of them, and had not expressed a desire to revoke her consent. N.T., 9/9/2013, at 11-12. Accordingly, the trial court entered a decree terminating Mother's parental rights.

On October 9, 2013, Mother timely filed a notice of appeal and statement of errors complained of on appeal. The trial court filed its opinion on November 12, 2013.

Mother presents the following questions on appeal.

A. Whether the trial court committed reversible error when it voluntarily terminated [M]other's parental rights where such determination was not supported by clear and convincing evidence under the Adoption Act[, ] 23 Pa.C.S.A. § 2511(a)(1), (a)(2), (a)(5), and (a)(8)?
B. Whether the trial court committed reversible error when it voluntarily terminated [M]other's parental rights without giving primary consideration to the effect that the termination would have on the developmental[, ] physical[, ] and emotional needs of the child as required by the Adoption Act[, ] 23 Pa.C.S.A. § 2511(b)?

Mother's Brief at 2 (trial court answers omitted).

Mother is not entitled to relief. As the trial court aptly notes, Mother's parental rights were terminated voluntarily under 23 Pa.C.S. § 2711, not involuntarily under 23 Pa.C.S. ยง 2511. Trial Court Opinion, 11/12/2013, at 9. Hence, Mother's issues related to the inadequacy of ...


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