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New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services v. D.S.

June 5, 2008

NEW JERSEY DIVISION OF YOUTH AND FAMILY SERVICES, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
D.S., DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.
IN THE MATTER OF THE GUARDIANSHIP OF S.J., A MINOR.



On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Bergen County, Docket No. FG-02-71-05.

Per curiam.

RECORD IMPOUNDED

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted February 27, 2008

Remanded March 4, 2008.

Resubmitted April 7, 2008*fn1

Before Judges Lihotz and Simonelli.

Defendant D.S. initially appealed from the March 27, 2006 judgment of guardianship (the March 27, 2006 judgment) that terminated her parental rights to her daughter, S.J.*fn2 We vacated the March 27, 2006 judgment and remanded for further proceedings. Div. of Youth & Family Servs. v. D.S., No. A-4454-05T4 (App. Div. January 4, 2007). After a remand hearing, the trial judge entered a judgment of guardianship on April 18, 2007 (the April 18, 2007 judgment), terminating D.S.'s parental rights to S.J. This appeal followed.

We reviewed the trial judge's five-page remand opinion and determined its deficiency precluded us from making any meaningful review. Thus, on March 4, 2008, we vacated the April 18, 2007 judgment and remanded with instruction to review the record and provide detailed and specific determinations of the factual evidence, including expert opinion, presented by each party as it relates to the first, second and fourth prongs of N.J.S.A. 30:4C-15.1a. In accordance with our instruction, on April 7, 2008, the trial judge provided a supplemental opinion. On April 30, 2008, we granted D.S. leave to file a supplemental brief, and an affidavit dated April 21, 2008, and granted DYFS and the Law Guardian leave to file supplemental briefs by May 19, 2008. DYFS and the Law Guardian did not comment on D.S.'s submission. Based upon our review of the opinion, and our careful review of the record, including the supplemental pleadings, we affirm.

I.

The facts prior to remand are set forth in our previous opinion. We briefly summarize them here.

DYFS first became involved with D.S. in September 2003, after receiving a referral from S.J.'s school that the child was often late and left unsupervised at home. D.S. denied drug use and signed a case plan.

D.S. eventually admitted she was addicted to heroin and cocaine. It was later determined she also suffered from depression and anxiety. On March 3, 2004, DYFS filed a Title 9 action, obtained legal and physical custody of S.J., and placed the child into a foster home. On March 15, 2004, D.S. waived her right to a fact-finding hearing and admitted that her drug use caused her to neglect S.J.

D.S. initially accepted DYFS's recommendation for drug rehabilitation. However, her initial efforts in a detoxification program failed. She relapsed in November 2004, and was admitted to the hospital complaining of suicidal ideations. While hospitalized, D.S. entered another detoxification program. D.S. ...


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