On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Gloucester County, Docket No. FG-08-18-05.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted: March 31, 2008
Before Judges Collester and C.L. Miniman.
R.C. appeals from a September 28, 2006, judgment terminating his parental rights to R.T.C. and K.D.J., two of his eight natural-born children with A.J.*fn1 R.C.'s parental rights to five other children had previously been terminated between 1993 and 2001 as a result of the involvement of plaintiff New Jersey Division of Youth & Family Services (the Division) with the children of R.C. and A.J. We affirm.
A.J. gave birth to R.T.C. at home on July 31, 2003. When they arrived at the hospital, both A.J. and R.T.C. tested positive for cocaine and the hospital notified the Division. Shortly thereafter, A.J. signed an informed consent permitting the Division to place R.T.C. in foster care. The Division placed R.T.C. in a Specialized Home Provider Services (SHPS) foster home due to her medically fragile status six days after her birth.
Over the next five months, the Division worked with family members who considered caring for R.T.C., but they eventually decided they were unable to do so. During this time, physicians at Cooper University Hospital's High Risk Clinic, where R.T.C. was taken because of her low birth weight, diagnosed her with pulmonary arterial stenosis, a heart defect. Also, a physical therapist regularly evaluated R.T.C. because her development was delayed. During this period of time, the Division lost contact with A.J. and never had contact with R.C.
In January 2004 the Division initiated a search for A.J. and R.C. and on January 21, 2004, the Division filed a Verified Complaint alleging abuse and neglect. The court granted the Division custody, care and supervision of R.T.C.
A.J. gave birth to K.D.J. on September 25, 2004, in a hospital. K.D.J. was born prematurely and tested positive for cocaine at the time of her birth. Again, the hospital notified the Division, but the Division did not realize that it was dealing with A.J. because she registered using the name of one of her daughters. A.J. admitted to the Division that she had been using cocaine during her pregnancy. However, she refused to give an address where she could be reached and refused to name the father of K.D.J. A.J. left the hospital and did not return to visit K.D.J. The Division ultimately learned that A.J. had used her daughter's name when entering the hospital, and that she had a past history with the Division.
The Division filed an Amended Verified Complaint on October 6, 2004. K.D.J. was added to the prior complaint and the Division sought custody, care and supervision of both children.
The court granted the Division custody, care and supervision of both girls that same day. On January 24, 2005, the court ordered the Division to file a Complaint for Guardianship of both children.
The Division finally located R.C. in January of 2005 in the Gloucester County jail. The Division filed a Complaint for Guardianship on March 3, 2005. R.C. remained incarcerated until July of 2005. On July 1, 2005, both R.T.C. and K.D.J. moved to their current foster home, where they have remained since that time. On February 21, 2006, the court entered an "Amendment to Case Management Order of 2/14/06" acknowledging A.J.'s surrender of her parental rights to both children on ...