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

December 3, 2008

NEW JERSEY DIVISION OF YOUTH AND FAMILY SERVICES, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
S.C., DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.
IN THE MATTER OF THE GUARDIANSHIP OF S.K. AND K.K., MINORS.



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Salem County, FG-17-16-07.

Per curiam.

RECORD IMPOUNDED

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted November 12, 2008

Before Judges Winkelstein, Gilroy and Chambers.

Defendant S.C., the mother of four children, appeals from the trial court judgment of November 26, 2007, terminating her parental rights to two of those children, S.K., born in June 1997, and K.K., born in December 1998. The identity of S.K.'s father is unknown. K.K.'s father, E.K., gave an identified surrender*fn1 of K.K. in favor of the child's great grandparents on February 5, 2007.

S.K. was removed from her mother's care in October 2005, and placed in foster care; she then went to live with her great grandparents. In March 2007, she was placed with her great aunt P.J., who seeks to adopt her. K.K. has lived with his great grandparents since he was four months old. These great grandparents want to adopt him. At the time of the hearing in the trial court, S.C.'s other two children also were no longer in her custody.

Following a bench trial, Judge Fineman terminated the parental rights of S.C. to S.K. and K.K., setting forth the reasons for that decision in a written opinion dated November 26, 2007, and memorializing the decision in an order on that date. The Law Guardian for S.K. and K.K. supported the decision to terminate S.C.'s parental rights.

On appeal, S.C. contends that the Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS) failed to prove by clear and convincing evidence the legal standards for terminating her parental rights. She raises the following points on appeal:

POINT ONE

A Parent's Right to a Relationship with His/Her Children is of Fundamental Importance and the State Failed to Meet its Statutory Burden by Clear and Convincing Evidence.

POINT TWO

Application of the Law to the Facts with Respect to S.C. Requires the Judgment to be Reversed and the Law Requires ...


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