Juvenile Law Center

July 01, 2004
855 A.2d 68 (Pa. Super. Ct. July 1, 2004)
Superior Court of Pennsylvania
Opinion By: 
Cavanaugh, J

A dependent child’s permanency goal does not have to be changed from "reunification" to "adoption" before CYS petitions to involuntarily terminate parental rights.

Siblings M.G. & J.G. were adjudicated dependant and received reunification services from the county children and youth agency (CYS), including foster care and placement with their mother in a family shelter. After M.G. and J.G. had been in foster care for twenty-five and sixteen consecutive months, respectively, CYS filed a petition to involuntarily terminate mother’s parental rights, although "reunification" remained the children’s placement goal. The lower court granted CYS’ petition and she appealed.

The Superior Court affirmed, finding that CYS can petition to involuntarily terminate parental rights even if the child’s permanency goal has not been changed from "reunification" to "adoption." Further, the record supported the lower court’s termination of parental rights (e.g., a ten-year history of the "mother’s lack of [parenting] skills").

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