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New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services v. R.W.

January 15, 2009

NEW JERSEY DIVISION OF YOUTH AND FAMILY SERVICES, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
R.W., DEFENDANT-APPELLANT, AND E.B., DEFENDANT.
IN THE MATTER OF THE GUARDIANSHIP OF E.I.W.-B.*FN1, A MINOR.



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Essex County, Docket No. FG-07-91-07.

Per curiam.

RECORD IMPOUNDED

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted December 16, 2008

Before Judges Parker, Yannotti and LeWinn.

R.W. appeals from an order entered by Judge John J. Callahan on January 29, 2008, which terminated her parental rights to E.W.*fn2 For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

We briefly summarize the relevant facts, which we have drawn from the record presented in the trial court. The Division of Youth and Family Services (Division) first became involved with R.W. and her family in January 1999, when the Division learned that she had given birth to E.W. and the child had tested positive for cocaine. The Division again became involved with the family in October 2002, when it was informed that R.W. had given birth to D.W., who also tested positive for cocaine.

In November 2002, the Division referred R.W. for a substance abuse assessment. R.W. reported that she began using marijuana when she was thirteen years old and started using cocaine when she was thirty. R.W. was found to be dependent upon cannabis and cocaine and it was recommended that she attend a substance abuse program at Horizon-University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (Horizon). In December 2002, R.W. began the program at Horizon but was discharged for non-compliance. In March 2003, R.W.'s drug tests were positive for cocaine.

R.W. began a twenty-eight-day drug treatment program at Sunrise House. She completed the program in April 2003. Thereafter, R.W. entered a program at Horizon, but she was discharged in May 2003 due to non-compliance. The Division then referred R.W. for substance abuse treatment at Renaissance House in Newark. R.W. began that program in May, 2003; however, she was terminated from the program in July 2003 because of her absences and lack of cooperation. In August 2003, R.W.'s drug tests were positive for cocaine.

R.W. returned to the treatment program at Renaissance House. Although it was reported that R.W. made some progress in addressing her drug dependency, she was discharged from the program in March 2004 because she had tested positive for cocaine. In April 2004, after other drug tests were positive for cocaine and benzodiazepine, E.W. was removed from R.W.'s care and placed with his paternal grandmother, G.B. Thereafter, G.B. informed the Division that she was having health problems and E.W. was placed with his paternal cousin, T.B.

R.W. attended additional substance abuse treatment programs in 2004 and 2005. Because R.W.'s drug tests indicated that she had not been abusing drugs, E.W. was returned to her care. In August 2006, after R.W. relapsed into drug use, E.W. was again removed and placed with T.B.

The Division filed its guardianship complaint on November 2, 2006, seeking the termination of R.W.'s and E.B.'s parental rights to both E.W. and D.W. Following a permanency hearing, the trial court entered an order dated September 14, 2007, which approved the Division's plan for termination of parental rights followed by a relative adoption for E.W. and select home adoption for D.W. In January 2007, R.W. enrolled in a Salvation Army rehabilitation program in Delaware.

In April 2007, Dr. Andrew P. Brown, III, a clinical psychologist, performed a psychological evaluation of R.W. as well as bonding evaluations of the children. In his psychological report concerning R.W., Dr. Brown diagnosed cocaine dependence, in early partial remission in a controlled environment; mood disorder, not otherwise specified (NOS); anxiety disorder, NOS; neglect of child; and rule out bipolar mood disorder.

In his psychological report, Dr. Brown wrote that R.W. "presents with sustained mental health and narcotic addiction issues that have compromised [her] personal [judgment] and her ability to execute parental obligations and responsibilities." He stated that R.W.'s substance abuse behaviors were "entrenched" and "historically undermined her rehabilitative efforts." Dr. Brown opined that "[R.W.] is currently not prepared to parent subsequent to her current attendance in substance abuse treatment and her partial remission status."

In the report of his bonding evaluations, Dr. Brown found that E.W. and D.W. were indifferent to R.W. The doctor wrote that E.W. had been polite and had taken directives from R.W. but "for the most part" he remained detached from R.W. and his younger ...


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