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In re M.B.

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

September 26, 2014

IN THE INTEREST OF: M.B., A MINOR; APPEAL OF: N.C., MOTHER

Submitted July 14, 2014

Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas, Philadelphia County, Family Court Division, No.: CP-51-DP-0000358-2014. Before FERNANDES, J.

Karen D. Williams, Philadelphia, for appellant.

Patricia A. Korey, Public Defender, Philadelphia, for appellee.

Michael E. Angelotti, Philadelphia, for Dept. of Human Services, participating party.

BEFORE: MUNDY, J., OLSON, J., and WECHT, J.

OPINION

Page 125

WECHT, J.

N.C. (" Mother" ) appeals the February 18, 2014 order that adjudicated her son, M.B. (" Child" ), dependent and committed him to the custody of the City of Philadelphia's Department of Human Services (" DHS" ). We affirm.

At a dependency hearing held on February 18, 2014, the juvenile court heard testimony that established the following facts. Child lived with Mother at Mother's home in Philadelphia. At the time of the dependency hearing, Child was fifteen years old and in the ninth grade. Notes of Testimony (" N.T." ), 2/18/2014, at 3, 6. Child graduated at the top of his eighth grade class and earned a scholarship to a private school. Id. at 20. Although Child has exhibited a set of specific needs, he does not have an Individualized Education Plan. Id. at 11. Mother placed Child at the Horsham Clinic in 2011 because he had been threatening people at school. Id. at 18-19. Mother initially placed Child in Horsham's outpatient program, during which he was transported from home to the Clinic each day. Id. at 18. Child was moved to Horsham's inpatient program for three months after he came home one day and set a fire in Mother's apartment. Id. at 18-19. Child had set other fires. Once, while Child's stepfather was asleep, Child entered the kitchen, set fire to a pencil, threw the pencil in the trash, and walked out the door as the trashcan began to burn. Child's stepfather awoke to find the kitchen on fire. Id. at 19.

Mother told DHS social worker Aliya Williams that, following Child's discharge from Horsham, she had a discussion with Child's primary care provider about referrals for therapy but did not receive any recommendations. Id. at 4-5. Child was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder and ADHD, and was prescribed Risperdal and Concerta. Id. at 22. Child refused to attend therapy sessions and refused to take his medications after his release from Horsham. Id. at 4, 14. Mother testified that she occasionally would force Child to take his medicine. Id. at 21. Other times, he would " act like he took it, and then spit it out." Id. at 22. Mother said that she took Child to see his family physician every three months, and that Child was in therapy at one point but was uncooperative. Id. at 21, 24. Mother testified that she has not enrolled Child in any mental health treatment since he left Horsham in 2011. Id. at 23.

In November 2013, when Child was fourteen years old, he was involved in a disagreement with Mother and said that he was afraid to return home. According to Child, he failed to complete some chores, and believed that Mother would discipline him severely. In order to defuse

Page 126

the tension between Mother and Child, Child stayed with his grandmother before returning to Mother's home. Id. at 4.

DHS requested an order of protective custody for Child on February 7, 2014. DHS alleged that Child had reported on several occasions that he was afraid to go home to Mother. DHS also alleged that Mother used verbal and physical discipline when Child failed to follow her rules; that Child appeared to have untreated mental health issues; and that Mother was unable to control Child. Application for Order of Protective Custody, 2/7/2014. Social Worker Williams testified that both Mother ...


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