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New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services v. N.N

October 23, 2012

NEW JERSEY DIVISION OF YOUTH AND FAMILY SERVICES, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT, V R.B., DEFENDANT-APPELLANT. IN THE MATTER OF THE GUARDIANSHIP OF R.B., A MINOR. NEW JERSEY DIVISION OF YOUTH AND FAMILY SERVICES, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
N.N., DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.
IN THE MATTER OF THE GUARDIANSHIP OF R.B. AND S.S., MINORS.



On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Union County, Docket No. FG-20-61-10.

Per curiam.

RECORD IMPOUNDED NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted September 19, 2012

Before Judges Graves, Espinosa, and Guadagno.

In these consolidated appeals, defendant N.N. is the mother of two children: S.S., a son, who is now five years old; and a daughter, Ra.B.,*fn1 who is now three. N.N. appeals from judgments entered on June 30, 2011, terminating her parental rights to her children and awarding guardianship to the Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS or the Division).*fn2 Defendant R.B. appeals from the June 30, 2011 judgment that terminated his parental rights to Ra.B., his daughter. The Law Guardian for the children supports the termination of defendants' parental rights.

On appeal, N.N. presents the following arguments:

POINT I

THE TRIAL COURT'S TERMINATION OF THE MOTHER'S PARENTAL RIGHTS WAS NOT SUPPORTED BY SUFFICIENT CREDIBLE EVIDENCE.

A. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN FINDING THAT DYFS HAD DEMONSTRATED, BY CLEAR AND CONVINCING EVIDENCE, THAT THE CHILDREN'S HEALTH AND SAFETY HAS BEEN OR WILL CONTINUE TO BE AT RISK OF HARM BECAUSE THERE WAS NO SHOWING THAT N.N.'S PAST DRUG USE HARMED OR WOULD HARM THE [CHILDREN].

B. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN FINDING THAT DYFS HAD DEMONSTRATED, BY CLEAR AND CONVINCING EVIDENCE, THAT N.N. WAS UNWILLING OR UNABLE TO ELIMINATE THE ALLEGED HARM FACING THE CHILDREN BECAUSE SHE COMPLETED PARENTING PROGRAMS AND ANY MISSED TREATMENTS WERE THE RESULT OF DYFS REQUIRING HER TO MAINTAIN AN UNTENABLE SCHEDULE.

C. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN FINDING THAT DYFS HAD DEMONSTRATED, BY CLEAR AND CONVINCING EVIDENCE, THAT IT MADE REASONABLE EFFORTS TO ADDRESS THE PROBLEMS THAT LED TO PLACEMENT BECAUSE DYFS REFERRED HER TO A TREATMENT PROGRAM THAT REQUIRED N.N.'S ATTENDANCE AFTER SHE WORKED A NINE HOUR OVERNIGHT SHIFT, AND BECAUSE DYFS DID NOT ADEQUATELY EXPLORE RELATIVE PLACEMENTS.

D. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN FINDING THAT DYFS HAD DEMONSTRATED, BY CLEAR AND CONVINCING EVIDENCE, THAT TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS

WOULD NOT DO MORE HARM THAN GOOD BECAUSE RECORDS OF VISITATION INDICATED A CLOSE RELATIONSHIP ...


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