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New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services v. P.H.

July 8, 2008

NEW JERSEY DIVISION OF YOUTH AND FAMILY SERVICES, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
P.H., DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.
IN THE MATTER OF THE GUARDIANSHIP OF N.H., A MINOR.



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Hunterdon County, Docket No. FG-10-06-07.

Per curiam.

RECORD IMPOUNDED

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted May 21, 2008

Before Judges Wefing, Parker and Koblitz.

P.H., the biological mother of N.H., appeals from an order entered on April 25, 2007 terminating her parental rights.*fn1 We affirm.

N.H. was born on September 13, 2002 in Easton, Pennsylvania. On February 17, 2004, the Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS) received a report that the child had been taken to the hospital emergency room for excessive vomiting. The hospital expressed concerns regarding defendant's parenting abilities. DYFS also received a report from family members alleging medical neglect of the child. DYFS substantiated the allegations and provided services, including medical care for the child and parenting classes for defendant.

A year later, in January 2005, DYFS visited defendant's home because of concerns about the child's care and defendant's imminent eviction from her apartment. A nurse who accompanied the caseworker found that defendant had difficulty paying attention and did not answer questions directly. Although the child was suffering from a respiratory infection, defendant was smoking in the room and had the child dressed only in a diaper.

Defendant showed the child's medication to the nurse and then gave the bottles to the child to play with.

Thereafter, defendant agreed to a case plan and follow-up medical treatment for the child. She also agreed to submit to substance abuse and psychological evaluations.

In February 2005, the biological father, P.S, was granted temporary custody of the child. At about the same time, defendant was incarcerated in Pennsylvania for selling crack cocaine to an undercover officer. She was initially sentenced to a work release program but left that program before completion and was incarcerated as a result.

Defendant has a history of mental illness, including treatment for a bipolar disorder. She attempted suicide after the child's birth and acknowledged smoking marijuana and becoming intoxicated while caring for the child. Defendant indicated that she did not want P.S. to have custody of the child.

DYFS instituted protective services litigation and an order was entered on June 3, 2005 placing the child in the legal custody of DYFS and suspending defendant's visitation rights.

In August 2005, defendant advised DYFS that she had been released from jail and wanted to schedule a visit with the child. When DYFS learned that defendant had been released without psychiatric medication, however, she was told to contact Hunterdon Medical Center ...


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