On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Essex County, Docket No. FG-07-0136-09.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted January 31, 2012 -
Before Judges Messano and Espinosa.
Defendant, T.T.M., appeals from the December 15, 2010 order of the Family Part that terminated her parental rights to her daughter, Kim.*fn1 Defendant presents the following arguments on appeal:
I. THE TRIAL COURT'S DETERMINATION THAT THE DIVISION SATISFIED ALL FOUR PRONGS OF THE STATE STATUTE BY CLEAR AND CONVINCING PROOFS IS NOT SUPPORTED BY THE RECORD
A. DYFS DID NOT MEET ITS BURDEN OF PROOF UNDER THE THIRD PRONG OF THE STATUTE
I. THE COURT SHOULD INTERPRET THE DEFINITION OF REASONABLE EFFORTS UNDER N.J.S.A. 30:4C-15.1(c) TO INCLUDE HELPING COGNITIVELY LIMITED DEFENDANTS COMPLETE HOUSING APPLICATIONS
II. DYFS FAILED TO PROVIDE REASONABLE SERVICES SINCE THEY DID NOT FOLLOW DR. IOFIN'S RECOMMENDATIONS
We have considered these arguments in light of the record and applicable legal standards. We affirm.
Defendant was eighteen-years old when she gave birth to Kim in March 2007. At the time, she was living in a foster home operated by Tri-City Peoples Corporation. Defendant had been under the care and custody of the Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS or the Division) since she was approximately one-year old and had resided in various foster homes.
Prior to Kim's birth, DYFS considered, but rejected, plans to house defendant and her daughter together in the same foster home. Dr. Lawrence DeMilio conducted a psychological evaluation of defendant on August 19, 2006. He concluded defendant demonstrated "multiple deficit areas[,]" including Oppositional Defiant Disorder, possible borderline IQ and poor maturation. Noting defendant's "current functional level [wa]s quite immature [and] passive[,]" DeMilio determined that defendant lacked the "necessary skills" to live independently, and individual psychotherapy and medication were unlikely to help.
Drs. Danielle Wiesen and Marc Gironda psychologically evaluated defendant on December 13, 2006 in anticipation of her placement "in a group home for mothers and infants." Wiesen and Gironda concluded defendant displayed "significant cognitive deficits" and "require[d] a life coach to review important daily living information[,]" as well as "individualized instruction on the birth process" and newborn care. They further warned that ...