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

August 10, 2010

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



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Bergen County, Docket No. FG-02-93-08.

Per curiam.

RECORD IMPOUNDED

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted: July 6, 2010

Before Judges Stern, Skillman and Wefing.

D.C appeals from a "Judgment of Guardianship After Trial," terminating her parental rights, and those of the father, K.T., to their son, C.C., entered on September 14, 2009. The judgment was based on a written opinion of Judge John Conte filed the same day.*fn1 The judgment granted DYFS the authority "to consent to the adoption of" C.C., who was twelve at the time of judgment, and "to act fully and completely as Guardian of . . . [his] person and property."

On this appeal, D.C. challenges the findings under all four prongs of N.J.S.A. 30:4C-15.1(a), and contends:

POINT I THE CHILD'S SAFETY, HEALTH OR DEVELOPMENT HAS NOT BEEN AND WILL NOT CONTINUE TO BE ENDANGERED BY THE PARENTAL RELATIONSHIP WITH THE BIOLOGICAL MOTHER. POINT II THE BIOLOGICAL MOTHER IS WILLING AND ABLE TO ELIMINATE THE HARM FACING THE CHILD AND IS ABLE AND WILLING TO PROVIDE A SAFE AND STABLE HOME FOR THE CHILD.

POINT III THE DIVISION HAS NOT MADE REASONABLE EFFORTS TO PROVIDE SERVICES TO HELP THE BIOLOGICAL MOTHER CORRECT THE CIRCUMSTANCES WHICH LED TO THE CHILD'S PLACEMENT OUTSIDE THE HOME.

POINT IV TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS OF THE BIOLOGICAL MOTHER WILL DO MORE HARM THAN GOOD.

I.

When he was seven years old in 2005, C.C.'s school reported to DYFS that he suffered a laceration on the back of his head when his mother threw a cup at him. She also admitted hitting him with a belt. A subsequent report followed after C.C. sustained injuries when he was hit on his legs with a spoon. As a result, DYFS began to work with D.C. and her family, including C.C.'s older siblings, sister K.F. and brother R.C.

C.C. was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), he was frequently aggressive and it was difficult for D.C. to control him. C.C.'s grandparents, with whom the family lived for a while, reported that D.C. had "no control" over the children. The grandparents moved to North Carolina and the children lived for periods with other relatives. They were returned to D.C., who obtained an apartment at the end of the summer of 2006, but the apartment was "dirty and cluttered" with "clothes, toys, cereal, potato chips, old newspapers, magazines, and other debris on the floor throughout the apartment." D.C. reported that she could not control the children. The house was found to be in disarray during several visits.

DYFS was again called in the fall of 2006, when R.C.'s teachers reported he "smelled horribly," and that his mother did not do laundry, feed the children, or send them to school with lunch. D.C. indicated she was doing the "best she [could]" with the children, and that the children were old enough to do their own laundry. The home was found to be in a "filthy ...


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