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New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services v. F.H.

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

May 31, 2013

NEW JERSEY DIVISION OF YOUTH AND FAMILY SERVICES, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
F.H. AND J.H., Defendants-Appellants. IN THE MATTER OF THE GUARDIANSHIP OF J.R. AND J.A.H., Minors.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Atlantic County, Docket No. FG-01-23-12.

Joseph E. Krakora, Public Defender, attorney for appellant F.H. (Carleen M. Steward, Designated Counsel, on the brief). [1]

Larry Leung, Designated Counsel, argued the cause for appellant J.H. (Joseph E. Krakora, Public Defender, attorney; Mr. Leung, on the brief).

Cassandra E. Rhodes, Deputy Attorney General, argued the cause for respondent (Jeffrey S. Chiesa, Attorney General, attorney; Lewis A. Scheindlin, Assistant Attorney General, of counsel; Ms. Rhodes, on the brief).

Melissa R. Vance, Assistant Deputy Public Defender, argued the cause for minors J.R. and J.A.H. (Joseph E. Krakora, Public Defender, Law Guardian, attorney; Ms. Vance, on the brief).

Before Judges Reisner, Yannotti and Hoffman.

PER CURIUM

F.H. and J.H. appeal from a judgment entered by the Family Part on June 18, 2012, which terminated F.H.'s parental rights to J.A.H. and J.R., and terminated J.H.'s parental rights to J.A.H. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

J.A.H. was born in March 2007. F.H. is his mother, and J.H. is his father. In November 2008, F.H. contacted the Division of Youth and Family Services (Division) and reported that she was homeless and could no longer care for J.A.H.[2] She explained that J.H. was incarcerated. He had been previously sentenced to a seven-and-one-half-year term of incarceration for drug-related offenses.

The Division executed an emergency removal of J.A.H. and on November 12, 2008, filed a verified complaint in the Family Part seeking care and custody of J.A.H. F.H. consented to the child's removal because she could not provide him with a safe and stable home. The court granted the Division's application.

The Division thereafter provided F.H. with an array of services. J.A.H. was initially placed in a resource home but later placed in the care of W.H. J.H. was released from jail on September 25, 2009, and the Division provided him with various services.

F.H. gave birth to J.R. in November 2009. Y.R. is the child's biological father. At the time of J.R.'s birth, F.H. tested negative for illegal drugs, but admitted to smoking marijuana during the pregnancy. The Division filed another complaint in the Family Part, seeking care and supervision of J.R. The court granted the Division's application. The child was eventually placed with J.A.H. in W.H.'s care. W.H. later advised the Division that she wanted to adopt both children.

The court subsequently approved the Division's permanency plans for the children, which called for the termination of parental rights followed by adoption. Accordingly, on November 17, 2009, the Division filed a complaint seeking the termination of F.H.'s and J.H.'s parental rights to J.A.H. In addition, on August 2, 2011, the Division filed its ...


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