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New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency v. O.J.

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

November 25, 2013

NEW JERSEY DIVISION OF CHILD PROTECTION AND PERMANENCY, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
O.J., Defendant-Appellant IN THE MATTER OF THE GUARDIANSHIP OF M.K.J., a minor

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted October 28, 2013

On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Essex County, Docket No. FG-07-179-12.

Joseph E. Krakora, Public Defender, attorney for appellant (Adrienne Kalosieh, Designated Counsel, on the briefs).

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

Joseph E. Krakora, Public Defender, Law Guardian, attorney for minor M.K.J. (Janet Fayter, Designated Counsel, on the brief).

Before Judges Yannotti, St. John and Leone.

PER CURIAM

O.J. appeals from an order entered by the Family Part on December 10, 2012, terminating her parental rights to the minor child, M.K.J. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

I.

The Division first became involved with O.J. when she was a minor, under the care of her mother, T.J., with whom she was living in Newark. In April 2008, a Division worker contacted T.J. and learned that T.J. was taking medications for depression. The worker noted that one of the medications was for schizophrenia. T.J. insisted, however, that she only suffered from depression.

In February 2009, a Division investigator contacted T.J. after receiving a report that at least one of her children was not attending school. O.J. spoke with the investigator. She was six months pregnant. O.J., who was born in June 1994, was fourteen years old at the time. She dropped out of school when she became pregnant. The investigator noted various unsafe conditions in the home, including soiled furniture, a dirty kitchen and general clutter.

In March 2009, a Division investigator contacted O.J. at the residence of her father, E.M., in Elizabeth. The investigator had O.J. and E.M. sign a case plan, which stated that O.J. would not reside with T.J. because her home was not safe. O.J. gave birth to M.K.J. in April 2009. In April 2009, the Division's investigator contacted O.J. at E.M.'s residence. O.J. was told that if she returned to T.J.'s home, the Division would remove the child from her care.

In December 2009, an investigator went to T.J.'s home after the Division received a report indicating that O.J., O.J.'s brother E.J. and M.K.J. were residing there. The investigator spoke with O.J. The investigator learned that O.J., E.J. and M.K.J. had been at T.J.'s residence since October 2009.

O.J. acknowledged that she was not receiving Women, Infants and Children (WIC) or Medicaid benefits for M.K.J. It appears that the benefits had not been transferred to the county in which O.J. was residing. A Division worker spoke with E.M. and he said he would retrieve the children from T.J.'s home and place them with their paternal grandmother, E.F., in Elizabeth. E.F. subsequently informed the Division that she would not be able to care for the children.

E.M. contacted the Division and said he did not know what to do with the children. He asked that the children be allowed to remain with T.J. until he found adequate housing. The Division agreed with E.M. that the children could be placed with T.J., provided O.J. and E.J. were enrolled in the Newark school system, and O.J. was taken to the welfare office so that her benefits could be transferred to the appropriate address. ...


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