On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Bergen County, Docket No. FG-02-72-06.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted October 22, 2007
Before Judges Stern, Collester and C.S. Fisher.
J.D.K., whose interests are in issue in the appeals before us, was born on July 1, 2004. His biological mother is defendant R.L.,*fn1 and his biological father is defendant J.K. Because both R.L. and the child tested positive for opiates at the time of his birth, the hospital would not permit J.D.K.'s release and contacted the Division of Youth and Family Services (the Division). Since that time, J.D.K. has been in the Division's custody and since December 9, 2005 has been in the care of his maternal aunt.
The Division commenced this action for a termination of defendants' parental rights on July 8, 2004.*fn2 A trial was conducted on November 14 and 15, 2006. Based upon factual findings and conclusions of law contained in his written decision, the trial judge concluded that defendants' parental rights should be terminated. Defendants filed appeals, which we consolidated, and have argued there was insufficient evidence to support the judge's findings. We reject those contentions and affirm.
In his decision, the judge correctly recognized that to obtain a termination of parental rights, the Division must prove by clear and convincing evidence that:
(1) The child's safety, health or development has been or will continue to be endangered by the parental relationship;
(2) The parent is unwilling or unable to eliminate the harm facing the child or is unable or unwilling to provide a safe and stable home for the child and the delay of permanent placement will add to the harm . . .;
(3) The division has made reasonable efforts to provide services to help the parent correct the circumstances which led to the child's placement outside the home and the court has considered alternatives to termination of parental rights; and
(4) Termination of parental rights will not do more harm than good.
See also N.J. Div. of Youth & Fam. Serv. v. A.W., 103 N.J. ...