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New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services v. C.B.

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

September 26, 2013

NEW JERSEY DIVISION OF YOUTH AND FAMILY SERVICES[1], Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
C.B. and K.B., Defendants R.B., Intervenor-Appellant IN THE MATTER OF I.B., a minor NEW JERSEY DIVISION OF YOUTH AND FAMILY SERVICES, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
K.B. and C.B., Defendants-Appellants IN THE MATTER OF THE GUARDIANSHIP OF I.L.B., a minor

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted September 10, 2013

On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Middlesex County, Docket Nos. FN-12-123-11 (A-1967-11) and FG-12-54-12 (A-5809-11 and A-5812-11).

Joseph E. Krakora, Public Defender, attorney for appellant R.B. (Durrell Wachtler Ciccia, Designated Counsel, on the brief).

Joseph E. Krakora, Public Defender, attorney for appellant K.B. (Kisha M.S. Hebbon, Designated Counsel, on the brief).

Joseph E. Krakora, Public Defender, attorney for appellant C.B. (Richard Sparaco, Designated Counsel, on the brief).

John J. Hoffman, Acting Attorney General, attorney for respondent New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services in A-1967-11, A-5809-11 and A-5812-11 (Lewis A. Scheindlin, Assistant Attorney General, of counsel in A-1967-11, A-5809-11 and A-5812-11; Meredith Blackman, Deputy Attorney General, on the brief, in A-1967-11; Lisa F. Nemeth, Deputy Attorney General, on the brief, in A-5809-11 and A-5812-11).

Joseph E. Krakora, Public Defender, Law Guardian, attorney for minor I.B. in A-1967-11 and minor I.L.B. in A-5809-11 and A-5812-11 (Melissa R. Vance, Assistant Deputy Public Defender, on the briefs, in A-1967-11, A-5809-11 and 5812-11).

Before Judges Fisher, Espinosa and Koblitz.

PER CURIAM

K.B., the biological father, and C.B., the biological mother, appeal from the June 15, 2012 order terminating their parental rights to I.L.B., who was born in August 2010. R.B., the maternal grandmother, appeals from the failure of her assigned counsel to file a motion to intervene, arguing counsel was ineffective. We write one opinion addressing the consolidated appeals of the parents as well as the issue raised by R.B. in her appeal. We affirm in all respects.

I.L.B. was born prematurely with cocaine in her system. Her mother also tested positive for cocaine. Eight days after she was born, the infant was removed from the hospital and placed into the foster home where she remained throughout the litigation. According to the Division's expert, she is bonded to her foster parents who wish to adopt her. Her biological parents have been plagued by substance abuse and criminal court involvement. Both parents were offered scheduled visits with their child as well as substance abuse counseling. At the time the Division of Youth and Family Services (Division) filed the guardianship complaint, when I.L.B. was a year old, neither parent was available to care for her. K.B. was incarcerated. C.B. was in the intensive care unit of the Somerset Medical Center, after she suffered from an illness while incarcerated that resulted in her becoming comatose. She remained in a nonresponsive state throughout the proceedings with little hope of recovery, residing in a nursing home.

K.B. attended various drug rehabilitation programs during the course of litigation. Naturally, his daughter was not bonded to him as she did not have the opportunity to spend time with him. K.B. was essentially a stranger to the child, who called out for her foster parents during the bonding evaluation with him. K.B. was incarcerated again at the conclusion of the trial in June 2012 and anticipated remaining so for the next six months and unable to take care of his child for twelve months after his release from incarceration. By that time, I.L.B. would have spent the first four years of her life with her foster parents.

The maternal grandmother, R.B., has custody of C.B.'s older daughter. The court appointed a lawyer to represent her in the Title 9 abuse and neglect proceedings before the guardianship complaint was filed. R.B. was permitted visits with I.L.B., but was ruled out as a resource for the child because she could not bring her home into compliance with Division and licensing safety ...


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