IN THE INTEREST OF: A.W., A MINOR APPEAL OF: R.W., FATHER
from the Order Entered September 30, 2016 In the Court of
Common Pleas of York County Juvenile Division at No(s):
BEFORE: PANELLA, J., OTT, J., and MUSMANNO, J.
("Father") appeals from the September 30, 2016
order in the Court of Common Pleas of York County changing
the placement goal to adoption with a concurrent goal of
placement with a legal custodian with respect to his son,
A.W. ("Child"), born in July of 2015. We reverse and
remand in accordance with the following decision.
record reveals the following facts and procedural history. On
15, 2015, the trial court placed Child in the legal and
protective custody of York County Children, Youth, and
Families ("CYF" or "Agency"). CYF then
placed Child in kinship foster care. Adjudication, 9/24/15,
at 1. On September 24, 2015, the court adjudicated Child
dependent, and his placement goal was return to parent with a
concurrent goal of adoption.
time of Child's placement, Father was incarcerated. The
order of adjudication required Father to comply with family
service plan ("FSP") goals including but, not
limited to, securing stable employment, housing, and in-home
services. Adjudication, 9/24/15, at 3. With respect to visits
with Child, the order provided, "Father may request
supervised visitation upon approval from SCI [State
Correctional Institution] or upon his release [from prison]
and return to York County." Id. at 2.
December 17, 2015, a status review hearing occurred before a
dependency master, who found that Father remained
incarcerated at SCI Coal Township, and, although he has had
no telephone contact with CYF, he "telephones about once
a week to speak with the child." Order, 12/18/15, at 2.
The court adopted the findings of the master by order dated
December 18, 2015.
March 9, 2016, the trial court held a permanency review
hearing, during which the CYF caseworker, Wanda Muhly, and
Father testified via telephone from SCI Coal
Township. Based on the testimony, the trial court found that
Father has been moderately compliant with the permanency plan
"in that [he] remains incarcerated at Coal Township SCI.
He is eligible for parole in late April or early May, 2016.
Father would like to be a resource for his son. He contacts
the kinship parents once a week and writes letters to his
son." Order, 3/9/16, at 1.
April 25, 2016, Father was transferred to a halfway house in
Harrisburg. Order, 6/9/16, at 2. Thereafter, on June 9, 2016,
a status review hearing was held before the master, who found
that Father "works with the Agency to arrange visits and
with the Agency to arrange a home team. He opened with
Catholic Charities yesterday." Id. at 2.
Further, the master found that Father is employed full-time
at Old Country Buffet in Harrisburg, inter alia. The
trial court adopted the master's findings by order dated
June 9, 2016.
master held the next permanency review hearing on August 30,
2016, and found that Father was released from the halfway
house in Harrisburg five days earlier, on August 25, 2016,
and that he had moved to the York area. Order, 8/30/16, at 1.
The master concluded that Father was in minimal compliance
with the permanency plan based on finding that "Father
was assigned a Catholic Charities Team on June 8, 2016, but
that he missed appointments, and the therapeutic portion of
the team closed out unsuccessfully." Id.
Further, the master found that "[t]he GAL notes that
Father had the opportunity to visit the Child, attend
doctor's appointments and call the Foster Parents
regarding the welfare of the Child and did not."
Id. at 1-2.
the master recommended as follows on August 30, 2016.
Father states that he has a lot on his plate since being out
of prison and he wants to have the opportunity to try to work
towards reunification now that he is in the York area.
[Catholic Charities] is willing to reopen if the Agency makes
a referral. The Agency will make the referral for the team to
reopen with Father. Should there be a delay in [Catholic
Charities] starting, the Agency is to work with Father to
arrange supervised visitation through the Agency.
Id. at 2. The trial court adopted the findings of
the master by order dated August 31, 2016.
September 30, 2016, the trial court held a status review
hearing during which Brandon Ambrose, the CYF caseworker,
testified. By order the same date, the court changed
the goal to adoption with a concurrent goal of placement with
a legal custodian. The court directed CYF "to start the
termination of parental rights process in regards to both
parents." Order, 9/30/16, at 2.
timely filed a notice of appeal and a concise statement of
errors complained of on appeal pursuant to Pennsylvania Rule
of Appellate Procedure 1925(a)(2)(i) and (b). The trial ...