NEW JERSEY DIVISION OF CHILD PROTECTION AND PERMANENCY, Plaintiff-Respondent,
C.U.B., Defendant-Appellant. IN THE MATTER OF THE GUARDIANSHIP OF C.E.F. AND A.K.S., minors. NEW JERSEY DIVISION OF CHILD PROTECTION AND PERMANENCY, Plaintiff-Respondent,
F.T.F., Defendant-Appellant. IN THE MATTER OF THE GUARDIANSHIP OF C.E.F., a minor.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted November 6, 2013
On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Hudson County, Docket No. FG-09-137-12.
Joseph E. Krakora, Public Defender, attorney for appellants (Kimmo Z.H. Abbasi, Designated Counsel, on the brief in A-1938-12T3; Howard P. Danzig, Designated Counsel, on the brief in A-1942-12T3).
John J. Hoffman, Acting Attorney General, attorney for respondent (Andrea M. Silkowitz, Assistant Attorney General, of counsel; Delia A. De Lisi, Deputy Attorney General, on the brief).
Joseph E. Krakora, Public Defender, Law Guardian, attorney for minors C.E.F. and A.K.S. (David R. Giles, Designated Counsel, on the brief).
Before Judges Sabatino and Hayden.
In these consolidated appeals, defendant C.U.B., the mother of minors C.E.F. ("Charley") and A.K.S. ("Alex"), and defendant F.T.F., the father of Charley only, contest the Family Part's termination of their respective parental rights following a guardianship trial. We affirm.
The record shows that both defendants had severely troubled childhoods, with circumstances that unfortunately contributed to their inability to care for their own children. C.U.B. was herself involved with the Division of Youth and Family Services (the "Division") as a child, and was placed in foster care as the result of her own mother's drug abuse. C.U.B. gave birth to her first child in 2005 when she was the age of sixteen. Soon thereafter, C.U.B. surrendered that first child to her own maternal aunt, J.C. C.U.B. has had a long history of drug abuse, depression, unemployment, and housing problems.
F.T.F., who is two years younger than C.U.B., lived briefly with his biological mother as a child, but was eventually removed from her care. For a time, F.T.F. lived with his grandmother until her death in 2006, and then with his paternal aunt thereafter. He dropped out of high school in the eleventh grade, but later earned his GED in 2009 while confined in juvenile detention. F.T.F. has had an extensive offense history that involved eight juvenile arrests, mostly for possession with intent to distribute controlled dangerous substances. Consequently, F.T.F. has been incarcerated both as a juvenile, and now as an adult. More recently, during the time of the guardianship trial, F.T.F. was convicted of two weapons charges, and sentenced to a three-year term of incarceration with no eligibility for parole. He has been diagnosed with substance abuse and anger management problems.
The child common to both defendants, Charley, was born on April 17, 2008. While she was pregnant with Charley in early 2008, C.U.B. sought help from the Division, indicating that she had tried to commit suicide. The Division provided C.U.B. with drug treatment services, and she initially responded positively to that treatment. However, the Division reopened the case at C.U.B.'s request after the birth of her third child, Alex, on April 19, 2009.
The record shows that Charley was born with significant medical issues and special needs as the result of suffering a stroke in utero. The younger half-sibling, Alex, does not have special needs.
In September 2009, the Division removed both Charley and Alex from C.U.B.'s care and placed them with C.U.B.'s maternal aunt, J.C., who was also continuing to care for C.U.B.'s first child. According to expert evaluations and other proofs presented by the Division at trial, the children have been well ...