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New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services v. M.W.

November 5, 2007

NEW JERSEY DIVISION OF YOUTH AND FAMILY SERVICES, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
M.W., DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.
IN THE MATTER OF THE GUARDIANSHIP OF D.A.W. AND A.D.W., MINORS.



On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Essex County, FG-07-123-06.

Per curiam.

RECORD IMPOUNDED

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted October 16, 2007

Before Judges Grall and Chambers.

M.W., the mother of D.A.W. and A.D.W., appeals from a judgment entered on September 15, 2006, terminating her parental rights to these children.*fn1 The judgment also terminates the parental rights of D.P., who is A.D.W.'s father. D.P. does not appeal. The identity of D.A.W.'s father is unknown.

On appeal, M.W. contends that the Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS) failed to establish the grounds for termination of her parental rights required by N.J.S.A. 30:4C-15.1. DYFS and the law guardian for the children argue that the evidence clearly and convincingly establishes that the termination of M.W.'s parental rights is in the best interests of D.A.W. and A.D.W. and in accordance with the statutory standards. We affirm substantially for the reasons stated by Judge Rothschild in his oral decision of September 15, 2006, and his written decision of November 27, 2006.

We provide only a brief summary of the evidence presented, which is discussed in detail in Judge Rothschild's decisions.

M.W. has a history of mental and emotional disturbance complicated by drug abuse and manifested by conduct that includes threats of property damage and bodily injury to others and self-inflicted injury. As a consequence, she has been and remains unable to care for her children.

In 1999, when she was seventeen years of age and enrolled in high school, she was hospitalized after threatening destruction of the school and injury to its principal. In June 2004, she was again hospitalized, on this occasion for threatening to burn the YMCA. She was subsequently admitted to a program for the mentally ill and chronically addicted, but was discharged due to threatening behavior directed at members of the staff.

D.A.W. was born in September 2004. Three weeks after the birth, M.W. threatened to destroy a welfare office. The threat was reported to DYFS, and M.W. and the baby were placed in a shelter pending an assessment of her ability to care for the child. M.W. was expelled from that shelter after she threatened to harm another resident and a member of the staff.

DYFS arranged for a psychologist to evaluate M.W. The doctor concluded that M.W. was depressed, exhibited paranoid ideation and should be evaluated by a psychiatrist for a recommendation as to whether medication could address these problems. In his opinion, her problems were sufficiently severe to require supervision of her contact with her child.

Based on M.W.'s behavior and the psychologist's evaluation, DYFS obtained a court order authorizing removal of D.A.W. On November 8, 2004, D.A.W. was placed in the home of foster parents who are willing to adopt him.

DYFS followed the psychologist's recommendations and arranged a psychiatric evaluation. The psychiatrist noted her history of hospitalizations and prior diagnoses of bipolar disorder and drug and alcohol dependence as well as the impact of those conditions on her impulse control and aggressive behavior. M.W. denied any present problems ...


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