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New Jersey Division of Youth v. B.C.R

October 25, 2012


On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Mercer County, Docket No. FG-11-03-11.

Per curiam.


Submitted October 3, 2012

Before Judges Grall and Koblitz.

B.C.R. appeals from the November 16, 2011 order terminating her parental rights to her son, A.A.R., who was born in June 2009. B.C.R. argues that the Division of Youth and Family Services (Division) did not demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence three of the four prongs of N.J.S.A. 30:4C-15.1a. The law guardian supported termination in the trial court and, on appeal, joins the Division in urging us to affirm. After reviewing the record in light of the contentions advanced on appeal, we affirm.

B.C.R. first became known to the Division after allegations were brought against her parents for abuse and neglect. She was raised in foster care in various placements. She reports that she was raped, abused and neglected while in placement before December 2011, when she was placed in a foster home with B.O. B.C.R. exhibited aggressive physical and verbal behavior in school and was identified by one school psychologist as having "serious social and emotional problems." She was classified as being multiply handicapped.

In December 2002, at the age of fifteen, B.C.R. gave birth to her first child, I.R., who lived with B.C.R. in B.O.'s foster home until June or July 2005. At this time, B.C.R. was evaluated by Cherie L. Young, Psy.D. Dr. Young found that her parenting capacity was inadequate and, based on testing, diagnosed her with severe major depressive disorder, with psychotic features, and borderline personality disorder. B.C.R. was subsequently hospitalized for approximately two weeks in a psychiatric unit. She did not comply with the numerous referrals for services provided by the Division after her release. In May 2005, she was arrested after throwing a bottle at a police officer.

In September 2006, B.C.R. was evaluated by another doctor, who found it unlikely that B.C.R. could "successfully and safely parent her child independently in the foreseeable future." B.C.R.'s diagnostic tests at this time indicated that she had intermittent explosive disorder, depressive disorder and borderline personality disorder. On February 5, 2007, B.C.R. voluntarily surrendered her parental rights to I.R., who was adopted by the child's paternal grandmother.

B.C.R. gave birth to A.A.R. in June 2009, by emergency c-section. He was born six weeks premature with encephalopathy and is developmentally delayed.*fn2 The Division received a referral from Capital Health Systems because B.C.R. was not taking her psychological medications, had limited support, and had exhibited issues regarding her ability to care for a child. The Division investigated the matter and found that B.C.R. was living with a friend, receiving SSI benefits, and was unemployed. The Division confirmed that she was not taking her medication and did not have baby supplies for A.A.R. B.C.R. stated and later confirmed that she believed it appropriate to discipline her child by hitting him.

A.A.R. was placed in foster care with L.R. shortly after birth. He has remained in L.R.'s foster home since this time.

One month after A.A.R. was born, Alan Lee, Psy.D., conducted a psychological evaluation of B.C.R. Dr. Lee reported: there remain striking concerns about [B.C.R.]'s ongoing inability to independently care for a minor child, especially a rather young minor child who, by virtue of his chronological age and associated development, remains highly vulnerable and dependent on a stable caretaker. Reunification of the minor child [A.A.R.] to the birth mother is not supported at this time.

Dr. Lee administered the Child Abuse Potential Inventory (CAP I), and concluded that B.C.R. had many characteristics in common with child abusers. He identified her as angry, aggressive, depressed and impulsive and suggested that she be assessed to determine if psychological medication was appropriate.

A psychiatric evaluation of B.C.R. resulted in diagnoses of major depression and intermittent explosive disorder.

B.C.R. was referred to various programs, at times participating and other times refusing to participate. One program indicated that she did not exhibit enough therapeutic progress ...

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