On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Cape May County, Docket No. FN-05-42-09.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Before Judges Ashrafi, Nugent and Kestin.
In these consolidated appeals, defendants, E.S. and K.G., the father and mother, respectively, of W.S. (the child), appeal from two orders resulting from a complaint filed by the Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS or the Division)) pursuant to N.J.S.A. 9:6-8.21, alleging child abuse and neglect (the Title 9 action). See also N.J.S.A. 30:4C-12. Specifically, defendants challenge the trial court's order of September 14, 2009, which memorialized findings of abuse and neglect and continued custody of the child in DYFS. In a subsequent order, entered on January 22, 2010, the court accepted the Division's permanency plan. Defendants advance no argument regarding the validity of that order. Defendants, however, also challenge an April 7, 2010 order terminating the Title 9 action "because . . . a complaint for Termination of Parental Rights has been filed." That latter order continued DYFS's physical and legal custody of the child.
The September 14, 2009 order was entered by Judge Connor after three days of fact-finding hearings. His findings of fact and conclusions regarding abuse and neglect were stated orally. Judge Connor also entered the permanency order for reasons expressed on the record on January 22, 2010. DYFS filed a complaint for guardianship on March 5, 2010, and the order terminating the Title 9 litigation was entered by Judge Porto after a hearing on April 7, 2010, in which he found good cause to do so.
On appeal, each defendant raises two points for our consideration. Defendant E.S. argues:
THE JUDGE ERRED BY ALLOWING HEARSAY INTO EVIDENCE AT THE HEARINGS.
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED BY FINDING THAT DEFENDANT ABUSED AND NEGLECTED THE MINOR.