October 29, 2013
NEW JERSEY DIVISION OF YOUTH AND FAMILY SERVICES, Plaintiff-Respondent,
T.L.L. and D.S., Defendants-Appellants. IN THE MATTER OF THE GUARDIANSHIP OF T.S.B.-L. and D.A.M., Minors.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted October 17, 2013
On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Camden County, Docket No. FG-04-155-12.
Joseph E. Krakora, Public Defender, attorney for appellant T.L.L. (A-3210-12T3) (Howard B. Tat, Designated Counsel, on the briefs).
Joseph E. Krakora, Public Defender, attorney for appellant D.S. (A-3209-12T3) (Larry Leung, Designated Counsel, on the brief).
John J. Hoffman, Acting Attorney General, attorney for respondent (Andrea M. Silkowitz, Assistant Attorney General, of counsel and on the brief; Julie B. Christensen, Deputy Attorney General, on the brief).
Joseph E. Krakora, Public Defender, Law Guardian, attorney for minors (Noel C. Devlin, Assistant Deputy Public Defender, on the brief).
Before Judges Fuentes, Simonelli and Fasciale.
Defendant T.L.L. appeals from the February 21, 2013 judgment of guardianship, which terminated her parental rights to her daughters, T.S.B.-L., born in October 1998, and D.A.M., born in November 2005. Defendant D.S., the biological father of D.A.M., appeals from the same order. Defendants contend that plaintiff New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services (Division) failed to prove each prong of N.J.S.A. 30:4C-15.1a by clear and convincing evidence. After reviewing the evidence presented to the trial court, and in light of prevailing legal standards and the arguments presented, we affirm.
We will not recite in detail the history of the Division's involvement with defendants. Instead, we incorporate by reference the factual findings and legal conclusions contained in Judge Edward McBride's February 21, 2013 written opinion. We add only the following comments.
We are satisfied that commencing with the Division's first contact with the family in November 2005, and continuing up to and including the start of trial in January 2013, the Division provided multiple opportunities for T.L.L. to reunify with her children, and address her drug addiction. None of these interventions proved successful.
D.S. was never a placement option for D.A.M. due to his incarceration from July 2005 to June 2008, and from April 2010 to December 2012. He had minimal contact with his daughter while not incarcerated, and there was no evidence he had made any plans for the child's care or to maintain contact with her prior to his second incarceration. There also was no evidence of how he would provide for his child in the future.
Judge McBride carefully reviewed the evidence presented and thereafter concluded that the Division had met by clear and convincing evidence all of the legal requirements for a judgment of guardianship. His opinion tracks the statutory requirements of N.J.S.A. 30:4C-15.1a, accords with In re Guardianship of K.H.O., 161 N.J. 337 (1999), In re Guardianship of D.M.H., 161 N.J. 365 (1999), and N.J. Div. of Youth & Family Servs. v. A.W., 103 N.J. 591 (1986), and is supported by substantial and credible evidence in the record. N.J. Div. of Youth & Family Servs. v. F.M., 211 N.J. 420, 448-49 (2012). We affirm substantially for the reasons the judge expressed in his comprehensive and well-reasoned written opinion.