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

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

October 9, 2013

NEW JERSEY DIVISION OF YOUTH AND FAMILY SERVICES, [1] Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
A.H., Defendant-Appellant, and C.H., N.F., and A.S., Defendants. IN THE MATTER OF THE GUARDIANSHIP OF D.F., L.M., Q.H., Q.H., AND Q.H., Minors.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted September 18, 2013

On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Middlesex County, Docket No. FG-12-0078-11.

Joseph E. Krakora, Public Defender, attorney for appellant (Joseph F. Kunicki, Designated Counsel, on the brief).

John J. Hoffman, Acting Attorney General, attorney for respondent (Andrea M. Silkowitz, Assistant Attorney General, of counsel; Mary Jane Lembo Cullen, Deputy Attorney General, on the brief).

Joseph E. Krakora, Public Defender, Law Guardian, attorney for minors (Nancy P. Fratz, Assistant Deputy Public Defender, of counsel and on the brief).

Before Judges Fuentes, Simonelli and Haas.

PER CURIAM.

Defendant A.H. appeals from the January 6, 2012 Family Part order, which denied her motion to vacate a default judgment terminating her parental rights to her children, L.M. (Lamar), born in October 2000, Q.H. (Qiana), born in August 2002, and twins Q.H. (Queen) and Q.H. (Quentin), born in December 2006.[2]We affirm.

In addition to the four children involved in this appeal, defendant is the biological mother of S.G. (Susan), born in August 1989, and A.H. (Anne), born in May 1993. Defendant C.H. is the biological father of D.F. (David), born in December 1994, Qiana, Queen and Quentin. Defendant N.F. is David's biological mother. C.H. and N.F. are not involved in this appeal.

The family has been involved with plaintiff New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services (Division) since 1994. The incidents that gave rise to the present matter stem from an August 2009 report the Division received that C.H. was abusing drugs and physically abusing David in the presence of his younger siblings. C.H. agreed to the Division's safety plan, which required him to leave the home and enroll in a detoxification program.

The Division received another report in August 2009, that C.H. had been sexually abusing Anne for the past two years, and Anne reported this to defendant, who did nothing to stop it. Susan reported that C.H. had sexually abused her as well. Pursuant to another safety plan, C.H. was required to leave the home, and defendant was not to allow him to be in the home or have any contact with the children.

The Division received a third report in August 2009, that defendant and C.H. were abusing heroin, defendant allowed C.H. into the home, C.H. would hide in the basement when Division caseworkers arrived, and defendant instructed Anne to lie to Division caseworkers about C.H.'s presence in the home. Defendant initially denied that C.H. was in the home, but later admitted it.

The Division filed a complaint for and obtained custody of Anne, Lamar, Qiana, Queen and Quentin.[3] In a January 12, 2010 order, defendant stipulated that she had violated the safety plan by permitting C.H. into the home, which placed the children at risk. Thereafter, the court ordered defendant to attend psychological and substance abuse evaluations, submit to random drug and alcohol screens, and obtain stable housing and full ...


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