June 15, 2012
NEW JERSEY DIVISION OF YOUTH AND FAMILY SERVICES, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
G.M.M., DEFENDANT, AND R.C., DEFENDANT-APPELLANT. IN THE MATTER OF THE GUARDIANSHIP OF D.M.-C., A MINOR.
On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division-Family Part, Camden County, Docket No. FG-04-155-11.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted: June 6, 2012 -
Before Judges Cuff and Waugh.
R.C. appeals from an order terminating his parental rights to his two-and-one-half year old daughter, D.M.-C. She is the fourth child born to him and G.M.M.*fn1 None of the children are in their custody. Three children tested positive for cocaine at birth. Defendant has at least eight other children, none of whom are in his care or custody.
On appeal, defendant argues the Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS) failed to prove by clear and convincing evidence that defendant is unwilling or unable to eliminate the harm caused by him to his youngest daughter and that the delay of permanent placement adds to the harm. He also contends that DYFS failed to prove by clear and convincing evidence that it made reasonable efforts to provide services to help defendant correct the circumstances that led to D.M.-C.'s removal from his custody and explored alternatives to termination of parental rights.
We have reviewed the record in its entirety and conclude that these arguments are without sufficient merit to warrant discussion in a written opinion. R. 2:11-3(e)(1)(E). We add the following brief comments.
Defendant is fifty-seven years old. He has been using crack cocaine since he was twenty-seven. He uses "whatever [he can] get," and whenever he can. He tested positive for cocaine on multiple occasions through the litigation. He resisted or refused treatment for his substance abuse. Although he has been diagnosed with depression, he refused a dual diagnosis program because he considered his problem not serious. Numerous record entries from supervised visitations reflect his inappropriate responses to a young child, such as when he told his fourteen month old daughter he would "bust that butt," if she did not cease a tantrum, and yelled at her when she could not put on her coat unassisted. He also gave his daughter, then ten months old, a hamburger and roll to eat.
The psychologist conducting the bonding evaluation between defendant and D.M.-C. expressed concern about defendant's ability to ensure the child's safety. He referred to an incident when defendant gave fifteen-month old D.M.-C. a candy cane and did not understand or seemingly care about the danger posed by that act. In short, DYFS presented evidence that clearly and convincingly established each element of the statutory standard, N.J.S.A. 30:4C-15.1a, for termination of parental rights.