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

SUPERIOR COURT OF NEW JERSEY APPELLATE DIVISION


May 26, 2009

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

On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Somerset County, Docket No. FG-18-104-07.

Per curiam.

RECORD IMPOUNDED

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted April 22, 2009

Before Judges Stern, Rodríguez and Espinosa.

Defendant A.D. appeals from a final order that terminated her parental rights to her son, "Corey."*fn1 We affirm.

A.D. is the mother of three children: two daughters, K.B. and A.P., and a son, Corey, born June 3, 1998. The order here terminates A.D.'s parental rights only as to Corey. At the time of trial, K.B. was in a residential placement and A.P. resided with her biological father.

A.D. was twenty years old when she was hospitalized in July 1993 for a period of three weeks and diagnosed with bipolar disorder. A.D.'s mother had also been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. As a result of her mother's hospitalizations, A.D. was placed with a foster family at age two and eventually adopted by that family at age nine. A.D. graduated from high school and completed one year of college. She gave birth to her first child, K.B., on November 7, 1994. In 1997, A.D. was hospitalized for part of January and from February through May. She had increasing thoughts of suicide and was diagnosed with major depression with psychotic features.

On December 28, 1999, K.B.'s biological father, who was involved in a custody dispute with A.D., called the Division of Youth and Family Services ("DYFS") to report his concerns regarding A.D.'s mental health and her neglect of K.B. Corey was approximately eighteen months old at the time. The DYFS caseworker interviewed A.D. at the motel where she was residing with the children and her paramour. She reported that A.D. appeared confused and "not in touch with reality." A.D. admitted that she was not on any medication and did not want to take any, saying, "This is really all about Barney," referring to the purple dinosaur on television. Her paramour confirmed that she did not take her medication. A.D. admitted leaving Corey alone in an unheated car in twenty-six degree weather for fifteen minutes. The caseworker observed that the two children were unkempt. Corey was dressed in a tee shirt, summer pants and dirty socks although it was late December. A.D. failed to respond to Corey when he became stuck between beds. The motel unit had a kitchenette but there was no milk, juice or bread for the children, only a jar of peanut butter.

The caseworker left to confer with her supervisor and contact Psychiatric Emergency Screening Services ("PESS"), and then returned to the motel with the police. No one was there. The police then received a call from K.B.'s biological father, who stated that A.D. had gone to his home with the children and demanded that he let her in and give her the house. K.B. ran to her father and asked to stay with him. A.D. then went to the police station with Corey and reported that K.B.'s father had kidnapped K.B. The caseworker proceeded to the police station where she found A.D. in an even more confused state. Neither she nor Corey were wearing a coat. A.D. agreed to go to PESS but was unable to fill out the forms.

DYFS concluded that the report of neglect was substantiated and commenced its first protective services litigation to gain custody of Corey. Corey was placed in the legal and physical custody of his maternal grandparents.

A.D. was admitted to St. Francis Medical Center in Trenton, on December 29, 1999 and involuntarily committed to a short-term care facility. She was referred to long-term treatment at Hagedorn Psychiatric Hospital ("Hagedorn") on January 11, 2000. She was discharged on March 1, 2000, but stopped taking her medications and was returned just nine days later. She refused psychiatric treatment, stating that she did not need to be there; that she merely needed to take lithium to be stable and leave. The initial psychiatric assessment stated that she was paranoid and had "disorganization of her thoughts with some psychotic symptoms." As of May 2, 2000, DYFS was advised by a physician at Hagedorn that A.D. would need "supervision in order to maintain psychiatric stability" after discharge.

By letter dated May 19, 2000, DYFS notified A.D. of its determination that she had been identified as harming Corey and K.B. and that the allegation of neglect had been substantiated. Corey was returned to A.D.'s custody in the summer of 2001. There were additional referrals to DYFS during the next year but the complaints proved to be unfounded, and Corey was found to be generally well-nourished and well-developed.

On August 12, 2002, A.D. had her third child, A.P. Corey remained with A.D., A.P. and A.P.'s father, C.P., until December 2002, when A.D. was brought to an emergency room by police after "yelling, screaming and acting psychotic" at a gas station.

A.D. was transferred to Hagedorn, where she remained until she was conditionally discharged in mid-February 2003. She agreed to continue her medications, to accept services and be monitored by Bridgeway Rehabilitation Services, a community outreach organization that specializes in providing comprehensive psychiatric rehabilitative services. However, A.D. refused to submit to psychological evaluations on September 30 and October 20, 2003, and was reportedly non-compliant with medication.

The next referral to DYFS was made by K.B.'s father on October 22, 2003. A.D. was living with her three children and A.P.'s father, C.P, in North Plainfield. A.D. told the caseworker that, during the previous evening, C.P. had been getting on her nerves and interrupting her while she was trying to think so she had to leave. She took Corey with her and visited her biological mother, "Vicky," and her boyfriend, "Bob." A.D. stated that Bob told her that he wanted to "eat her out" and "cut her up into 10,000 pieces." A.D. then took Corey and slept in her car in a parking lot.

When the caseworker asked her to agree to leave her son at home if she wanted to sleep in the car in the future, A.D. asked for a minute to think about it and began to stare into space. Eventually, she stated that she had forgotten the question. Then, A.D. began to act erratically. She became angry with C.P. and became even more erratic. The caseworker reported, "Her sentences did not make sense, she would answer a question with answers that had nothing to do with the questions asked and the worker could see that she was mentally not doing well. She would stop mid-sentence and sort of stare off into space."

The caseworker left A.P.'s home and arranged for PESS and the police to go to the home. He was reluctant to return to the house alone because A.D. "was obviously not in her right mental capacity." As the police arrived, A.D. drove away from the house, leaving the children with C.P. According to C.P., A.D. had been hearing things that were not happening and responding to people who were not there. A.D. was located later that evening outside the home of K.B.'s father and taken to St. Francis Medical Center.

Corey and A.P. were left in the custody of C.P. and K.B. was left in the custody of her father. Corey and A.P. were removed from C.P.'s custody in November 2003 and placed with their maternal grandparents.

A.D. remained hospitalized at Hagedorn until January 4, 2004. Noting A.D.'s long history of bipolar disorder and poor compliance with medication and outpatient psychiatric follow-up, the initial psychiatric assessment reported that she had been "depressed, psychotic and highly paranoid that others are against her." A.D. was acutely psychotic upon admission and displayed manic behavior for several weeks, but improved with medication.

In February 2004, after A.D.'s discharge, she and C.P. began receiving in-home sessions to improve their parenting skills through the CARRI program of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. Within a month, Corey and A.P. were returned to C.P.'s custody by court order on the condition that A.D. leave the home. In April 2004, the CARRI program reported that A.D. had attended only four of the ten scheduled home visits and recommended that she not attend the remainder of the sessions. During this time, A.D. was participating in biweekly individual therapy sessions at Richard Hall Community Mental Health Center in Bridgewater ("Richard Hall") and receiving psychiatric services at Bridgeway. However, in June 2004, a psychologist at Richard Hall advised DYFS that A.D. had attended only two of the five appointments scheduled since April.

In May 2004, DYFS filed its third protective services litigation concerning Corey after a domestic violence incident between A.D. and C.P. Corey was placed with his maternal grandparents.

In July 2004, updated reports from Bridgeway and Richard Hall indicated that A.D. was compliant with services. A.D. had successful unsupervised visitation and overnight visitation with Corey and A.P. The Attorney General's office recommended that custody of the children be transferred back to A.D. by consent order. It was arranged for the Moms, Pops & Tots parenting skills program to provide A.D. with supportive services in the home in addition to the other services she was receiving. A.D. failed to follow through with the Moms, Pops & Tots program, meeting with the clinician only twice. She did, however, regularly attend sessions at Richard Hall and Bridgeway. As a result of A.D.'s reported improvement, the third protective services litigation regarding Corey was dismissed by the court in February 2005.

On May 5, 2005, the Somerville Police Department picked up A.D. and Corey. A.D. was incoherent and incapable of having a conversation with the officers. Corey stated that he, A.D. and A.P. had been in the car since the day before. They had not eaten and Corey had not gone to school. A.D. had driven to a house in Somerville, looking for someone who had previously lived there. She left A.P. with the current resident, a stranger, and walked away with Corey, telling him that she left A.P. so she could be taken care of. When DYFS responded, the caseworker observed that Corey and A.P. were not wearing shoes but only dirty socks. A.P. was completely soiled, very scared and tired.

A.D. was hospitalized and committed to Hagedorn for the sixth time on May 18, 2005. She was suffering from paranoid delusions. She responded to lithium and was conditionally discharged on August 30, 2005. A.D. was generally compliant with medications and aftercare until early 2006. She began to refuse to take medication in the presence of the Bridgeway counselor, often questioned her need for medication, denied being bipolar and refused to acknowledge the bizarre nature of her past behavior. In March 2006, she began declining visits from Bridgeway staff and missing appointments with Bridgeway's staff psychiatrist. She was reported to be hypomanic, hostile and accusatory in her interactions with the psychiatrist and Bridgeway staff.

Corey was placed with his great-aunt and uncle, "Leah and Jim Parker," and remained with them through the time of trial.

On July 4, 2006, A.D. was arrested for violating a restraining order involving a former boyfriend. She was hospitalized after threatening suicide if taken to jail and discharged on July 31, 2006, with instructions to follow up with Bridgeway. On August 2, 2006, A.D. advised Bridgeway that she would no longer take any medication. She failed to actively engage herself with the services offered by Bridgeway throughout the fall.

On September 13, 2006, DYFS filed the complaint in this matter, seeking the termination of A.D.'s parental rights to Corey. The trial was delayed due to A.D.'s additional hospitalizations.

A.D. was admitted to Carrier Clinic after repeated telephone calls to the police in which she complained that someone was trying to poison her. Upon admission, she was found to be psychotic, manic, responding to hallucinations and posing a serious risk of bodily injury to herself. When she remained psychotic and delusional after taking medication, she was transferred to Runnells Specialized Hospital of Union County for long-term care. She was stabilized on lithium and discharged on March 1, 2007.

A.D.'s last hospitalization prior to the trial was from April 21, 2007, until her conditional discharge in June 2007. An annual psychiatric update reported that A.D. had difficulty acknowledging that she had a serious, chronic psychiatric disorder, had limited insight about her illness, quickly stopped taking her medication after being discharged and was difficult to convince of the need to resume medication.

A.D. attended two individual therapy sessions at Richard Hall in August 2007 and, in November 2007, most of her symptoms appeared to be in remission. However, in January 2008, there was evidence suggesting that she was in the stage of early decompensation. In February 2008, A.D. failed to respond to Bridgeway's efforts to contact her to deliver medication and engage her in services.

The trial was conducted on January 30, March 11, April 2, April 8, May 19, May 21 and June 4, 2008.

At the trial, A.D. vehemently denied being bipolar or having any manic episodes. She blamed her hospitalizations on false allegations from authority figures and claimed any bipolar symptoms were caused by her prescribed medications. A.D. admitted that, after every period of hospitalization, she took the lithium prescribed to her for the three-month conditional discharge period to pass mandatory blood tests and then stopped taking it without consulting any doctors. She stopped taking medication completely in September 2007 without telling anyone.

In recounting the events of May 5, 2005, A.D. denied ever giving A.P. to a stranger. Her account was rejected by the trial court.

A.D. was afforded regular visits with Corey at the Parkers' home but the visits became supervised after she started making disturbing telephone calls to them. Corey regularly sees his sister, A.P., and enjoys a good relationship with her. The Parkers want to adopt Corey. They are agreeable to A.D. maintaining contact with him as long as she is stable. DYFS's plan is for the Parkers to adopt Corey.

At the time of trial, Leah and Jim Parker were forty-eight and fifty-three years old, respectively, and had been married twenty years. Their three children, ranging in age from seven to eighteen, and an infant granddaughter live with them.

Corey began attending counseling in June 2005. Initially, he presented with adjustment issues and major depressive symptoms, but he did well in his sessions and developed appropriate means of expressing his emotions. The Parkers continued his counseling through the litigation. A psychiatric evaluation revealed no concerns or special needs. Corey attended occupational therapy sessions from January 2006 through August 2007 to improve fine motor skills, and he was actively supported by the Parkers in developing those skills at home. Megan Labuda, a DYFS caseworker, testified that Corey was doing "extremely well" overall and had adjusted very well in his placement with the Parkers. A bright child with an IQ of 117, Corey's school performance improved after his placement with the Parkers. Labuda's observations of Corey with the Parkers showed that he is "very close" to them.

At trial, DYFS presented the expert testimony of a psychiatrist, Alexander Iofin, M.D., and a psychologist, Alan S. Gordon, Ed.D. A psychologist, Donald J. Franklin, Ph.D., testified on behalf of A.D.

Even her own psychologist acknowledged that reunification of Corey with A.D. was not appropriate at that time and would not be possible unless A.D. followed through with active involvement in treatment. Dr. Franklin did not dispute A.D.'s diagnosis and testified that it was important for A.D. to accept her bipolar diagnosis. He acknowledged that she had not fully done so and had a poor history of complying with medication; that she tended to dismiss the severity of her symptoms; and did not believe her 2005 hospitalization was necessary. He stated that, without active involvement in treatment, A.D. would "never . . . get to the point where she can resume her parenting responsibilities."

Dr. Franklin concluded that A.D.'s parental rights should not be terminated because it would be harmful to Corey to eliminate a "very strong" emotional bond with A.D. Although Corey told Dr. Franklin that he would like to see A.D. more often and live with her again, he did not voluntarily show physical affection, such as hugging, during a bonding evaluation with A.D. and expressed no negative concerns about living with the Parkers. Dr. Franklin acknowledged that Corey had a "very positive" emotional attachment with the Parker family; that he appeared "very happy and well adjusted" with them; had good behavior and seemed emotionally content. Dr. Franklin recommended that A.D. have increased parenting time with Corey and a follow-up assessment in six months.

Dr. Iofin, the psychiatrist called by the State, testified that his diagnosis of A.D. was a severe case of schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type, including significant problems in the "psychotic realm." This was consistent with previous diagnoses that, Dr. Iofin stated, had been made by qualified psychiatrists, psychologists and psychiatric nurses at several mental health facilities. Dr. Iofin considered A.D.'s frequent and long periods of hospitalizations as evidence of the severity of her illness and her poor response to treatment. He stated that A.D.'s history of hospitalizations was unusual because, ordinarily, a patient would receive treatment in a regular hospital for several weeks and then be discharged. The main criterion for admission to a psychiatric hospital is that the patient is unable "to take minimal adequate care of themselves" and requires twenty-four hour supervision. Dr. Iofin opined that A.D. would continue to experience cyclical periods of psychosis because of her history of noncompliance with medication. He stated that, as a result of the damage caused by her illness, A.D. would gradually experience more problems than in the past, even with medication. Dr. Iofin concluded that, in light of her frequent inability to care for herself, A.D. was incapable of caring for a minor child.

Dr. Gordon, the psychologist called by the State, conducted psychological evaluations of A.D. and Corey, bonding evaluations of Corey with A.D. and the Parkers, and reevaluations of A.D. and Corey at the trial court's request in April 2008. Like the other experts, Dr. Gordon found that A.D.'s limited insight into her illness, her denial of her bipolar diagnosis and her long history of hospitalizations rendered her prognosis for recovery very poor. He also agreed that placing Corey with A.D. was not a viable option because A.D.'s ability to provide for him in the foreseeable future was very poor.

Dr. Gordon considered a need for permanency in Corey's life to be his chief concern. After multiple placements, Corey had found a secure situation in the Parkers' home where he had resided since May 2005. Dr. Gordon testified that it would be detrimental to break that relationship and that such action should only be taken if Corey could be placed in an equal or stronger setting. In the bonding evaluation with the Parkers, Dr. Gordon observed that they had a very strong, securely bonded relationship with trust and comfort. Corey freely showed affection for the Parkers and looked to them to fulfill his basic needs. In contrast, Corey assumed the role of parent, rather than child, in the bonding evaluation with A.D. and did not freely show any affection for her. Although Dr. Gordon observed a bond between them, he did not see a secure one.

Corey told Dr. Gordon that he wanted to live with the Parkers but not lose his relationship with his mother. Dr. Gordon believed that the Parkers would permit that relationship to continue as long as A.D. remained emotionally stable. He acknowledged that some harm might occur if A.D.'s parental rights were terminated, but he still concluded that Corey's need for permanency outweighed any potential harm even if all contact with A.D. was terminated. He gave limited weight to that potential harm in light of A.D.'s frequent, lengthy absences from Corey's life, including most of the years since May 2005. Dr. Gordon concluded that termination of A.D.'s parental rights was appropriate.

Defendant raises the following issues on appeal:

POINT I ANALYZING THE EVIDENCE THE DIVISION OF YOUTH AND FAMILY SERVICES PRESENTED AT THE GUARDIANSHIP TRIAL WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF THE FOUR PART STATUTORY CRITERIA OF N.J.S.A. 30:4C-15.1(a), IT IS APPARENT THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN DETERMINING THE DIVISION MET ITS BURDEN BY CLEAR AND CONVINCING EVIDENCE AND THAT AD'S PARENTAL RIGHTS SHOULD BE TERMINATED.

PRONG ONE THE DIVISION EVIDENCE DID NOT SUPPORT A CLEAR AND CONVINCING FINDING BY THE COURT THAT CD'S SAFETY, HEALTH, OR DEVELOPMENT HAS BEEN OR WILL CONTINUE TO BE ENDANGERED BY THE PARENTAL RELATIONSHIP.

PRONG TWO THE DIVISION EVIDENCE DID NOT SUPPORT A CLEAR AND CONVINCING FINDING BY THE COURT THAT AD IS UNWILLING OR UNABLE TO ELIMINATE THE HARM FACING CD OR IS UNABLE OR UNWILLING TO PROVIDE A SAFE AND STABLE HOME FOR CD AND THE DELAY OF PERMANENT PLACEMENT WILL ADD TO THE HARM.

PRONG THREE THE DIVISION EVIDENCE DID NOT SUPPORT A CLEAR AND CONVINCING FINDING BY THE COURT THAT THE DIVISION HAS MADE REASONABLE EFFORTS TO PROVIDE SERVICES TO HELP THE CIRCUMSTANCES WHICH LED TO THE REMOVAL OF CD AND THE COURT HAS CONSIDERED ALTERNATIVES TO TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS.

PRONG FOUR THE DIVISION EVIDENCE DID NOT SUPPORT A CLEAR AND CONVINCING FINDING BY THE COURT TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS WILL NOT DO MORE HARM THAN GOOD IS NOT SUPPORTED BY CLEAR AND CONVINCING EVIDENCE.

POINT TWO THE COURT ERRED IN EXCLUDING THE TESTIMONY OF POLYGRAPH EXAMINER, JOSEPH ROSARIO, AND THE POLYGRAPH RESULTS.

Parents have a constitutionally protected right to maintain a relationship with their children that must be scrupulously protected. In re Guardianship of J.C., 129 N.J. 1, 10 (1992). However, those rights are not absolute, and "must be balanced against the State's parens patriae responsibility to protect the welfare of children." N.J. Div. of Youth & Family Servs. v. G.L., 191 N.J. 596, 605 (2007); N.J. Div. of Youth & Family Servs. v. M.M., 189 N.J. 261, 279-80 (2007).

N.J.S.A. 30:4C-15.1(a) authorizes DYFS to petition for the termination of parental rights in the "best interests of the child" if the following standards are met:

(1) The child's safety, health or development has been or will continue to be endangered by the parental relationship;

(2) The parent is unwilling or unable to eliminate the harm facing the child or is unable or unwilling to provide a safe and stable home for the child and the delay of permanent placement will add to the harm. Such harm may include evidence that separating the child from his resource family parents would cause serious and enduring emotional or psychological harm to the child;

(3) The division has made reasonable efforts to provide services to help the parent correct the circumstances which led to the child's placement outside the home and the court has considered alternatives to termination of parental rights; and

(4) Termination of parental rights will not do more harm than good.

The State must prove each factor by clear and convincing evidence. G.L., supra, 191 N.J. at 606.

In its thoughtful decision, the trial court acknowledged that A.D. loves her son and is able to parent him when she is compliant with her medicine and her treatment. The court observed that A.D. did not abuse alcohol or other substances, did not engage in any act of physical abuse of Corey while he was in her care and that, prior to his removal in 2005, she took adequate measures to insure that he received proper medical care. Despite these positive factors, the evidence revealed a well-established history of A.D.'s inability or unwillingness "to remain compliant with her mental health treatment." This was the central reason for the court's conclusion that there was clear and convincing evidence of all four factors, warranting a termination of A.D.'s parental rights in Corey's best interest.

A trial judge's decision to terminate parental rights is subject to limited appellate review. If supported by "adequate, substantial, and credible evidence in the record," the trial court's findings of fact are entitled to deference. G.L., supra, 191 N.J. at 605. See also Cesare v. Cesare, 154 N.J. 394, 413 (1998) (noting "[b]ecause of the family courts' special . . . expertise in family matters, appellate courts should accord deference to family court factfinding"). The family court's decision to terminate parental rights will not be disturbed "when there is substantial credible evidence in the record to support the court's findings." N.J. Div. of Youth & Family Servs. v. E.P., 196 N.J. 88, 104 (2008).

Because we conclude that the trial court's findings are supported by adequate, substantial and credible evidence in the record, we affirm.

The first prong of N.J.S.A. 30:4C-15.1(a) requires the court to make a finding whether the "child's safety, health or development has been or will continue to be endangered by the parental relationship." The court's finding of endangerment was based upon the consequences of A.D.'s "refusal or inability over the course of many years to comply with the prescribed medication regimen to address her psychiatric illness." The ensuing multiple hospitalizations rendered A.D. unavailable to care for Corey for extended periods of time, amounting to almost half of Corey's life, including the years since 2005. The court also cited specific instances in which, as a result of A.D.'s decompensations, Corey was subjected to the risks of physical and emotional harm: being left alone in a car in sub-freezing temperature when he was eighteen months old; sleeping in his mother's car on at least two occasions, and the instability of his life while in A.D.'s care. The record therefore supports the court's finding that there was clear and convincing evidence of this prong.

The second prong of N.J.S.A. 30:4C-15.1(a) requires the court to determine whether the parent is "unwilling or unable to eliminate the harm facing the child or is unable or unwilling to provide a safe and stable home for the child and the delay of permanent placement will add to the harm." Here again, the court found that A.D.'s well-documented "refus[al] to accept her diagnosis and comply fully with recommended treatment and medication . . . pose[d] a risk of future harm" to her son. There was substantial support in the record for this finding, including A.D.'s own admissions that she did not accept her bipolar diagnosis, that she ceased taking medication after each hospitalization without telling anyone and that she blamed her bipolar symptoms on the very medication prescribed to her for that condition. The court's conclusions were specifically supported by unrefuted expert testimony that, in light of her history, A.D. will be hospitalized again and cannot be considered "a minimally adequate parent for any minor child" from a psychiatric standpoint. The court observed that even her own expert acknowledged the likelihood of future hospitalizations and testified that A.D. required a family support system, which the evidence shows does not exist, if she were ever to regain custody. Therefore, the court's conclusion that there was clear and convincing evidence that A.D. "has demonstrated she is unable to eliminate the harm" to her son is amply supported by the record.

The third prong of N.J.S.A. 30:4C-15.1(a) requires a finding that the "division has made reasonable efforts to provide services to help the parent correct the circumstances which led to the child's placement outside the home and the court has considered alternatives to termination of parental rights." The court observed, "The issue throughout the course of this litigation has not been the availability of services but [A.D.'s] failure to take full advantage of them." The facts fully support that conclusion. In addition, the court satisfied the other aspect of this prong in finding that kinship legal guardianship, requested by A.D., is neither available in light of the Parkers' strong preference for adoption, N.J.S.A. 3B:12A-6d, nor suitable as it would not provide "the stability and security" needed by Corey.

The fourth prong of N.J.S.A. 30:4C-15.1(a) requires a finding that [t]ermination of parental rights will not do more harm than good." Recognizing that "[k]eeping a child in limbo, hoping for some long term unification plan, would be a misapplication of the law," New Jersey Div. of Youth & Family Servs. v. A.G., 344 N.J. Super. 418, 438 (App. Div. 2001), certif. denied, 171 N.J. 44 (2002), the trial court determined that "all these years of efforts at reunification" must give way to Corey's need for "safety, stability and permanency." The court's finding that this was available to him with the Parkers and not with A.D. was well supported by the evidence. Moreover, the court carefully considered the harm feared by A.D., that she would lose contact with her son, and noted that based upon the evidence, this was unlikely to occur.

In conclusion, we find that the factual support in the record for the findings of the trial court here is such as to merit our deference.

After carefully considering the record and briefs, we are satisfied that A.D.'s argument regarding the exclusion of polygraph testimony argument lacks sufficient merit to warrant discussion in a written opinion. Rule 2:11-3(e)(1)(E).

Affirmed.


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