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New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services v. K.T

January 8, 2013

NEW JERSEY DIVISION OF YOUTH AND FAMILY SERVICES, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
K.T., DEFENDANT-APPELLANT. IN THE MATTER OF THE GUARDIANSHIP OF I.A.S., A MINOR.



On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Passaic County, Docket No. FG-16-56-11.

Per curiam.

RECORD IMPOUNDED

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted November 27, 2012

Before Judges Messano and Kennedy.

Defendant K.T. appeals from the Family Part judgment terminating parental rights to her son I.A.S. (Ian).*fn1 Defendant contends that the Division of Youth and Family Services (the Division)*fn2 failed to prove by clear and convincing evidence the four prongs of N.J.S.A. 30:14C-15.1(a). After considering the arguments presented in light of the record and the applicable law, we are satisfied that the trial judge's findings are firmly supported by substantial, credible evidence in the record as a whole and fully supported his legal conclusions. See, e.g., Div. of Youth & Family Servs. v. A.R.G., 361 N.J. Super. 46, 78 (App. Div. 2003), aff'd in part, modified in part and remanded, 179 N.J. 264 (2004), certif. denied, 186 N.J. 603 (2006). Consequently, we affirm the judgment of the Family Part.

I.

We derive the following facts from the trial record.

Ian was born on April 23, 2010, to defendant and an unknown father. Defendant became known to the Division as an adult in 2009 when her three older children were placed in the Division's custody because of her drug use and inability to care for her children. On the date of Ian's birth, a social worker at the hospital reported defendant had inconsistent prenatal care and tested positive for PCP a few weeks earlier. The Division effected an emergent Dodd removal*fn3 on April 26, 2010, and placed Ian in the care of a foster parent who now wishes to adopt him.

While pregnant with Ian, defendant tested positive for PCP several times and was referred to the Challenge program (Level

II) in October 2009 after a Division substance abuse evaluation confirmed her use of PCP, and found it to pose an "imminent risk of harm to the child . . . ." Defendant did not complete the program, however.

Thereafter, between November 2009 and September 2011, the Division referred defendant to various inpatient and out-patient drug treatment programs, including those at Newark Renaissance House, Preferred Children's Services, Eva's Village, Options Counseling Center, Turning Point, Trinitas, Great Expectations, and Cura. Defendant did not cooperate with treatment services and did not complete any of the programs. She also tested positive for PCP on several occasions during this period.

Defendant was also referred for parenting skills training, but never completed the program.

On March 3, 2011, Donna LoBiondo, Ph.D., a psychologist, conducted a psychological evaluation of defendant. At that time, defendant lived part-time with her boyfriend and part-time with her mother. Psychometric testing indicated that while defendant could read and decode most materials at a high school level, her IQ was 65, which is consistent with mental deficiency. LoBiondo concluded that ...


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