In Re: M.W., Appeal of: M.D. (memorandum)

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J-S01030-15 NON-PRECEDENTIAL DECISION - SEE SUPERIOR COURT I.O.P. 65.37 IN RE: M.W., A MINOR IN THE SUPERIOR COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA APPEAL OF: M.D. No. 1440 WDA 2014 Appeal from the Order August 6, 2014 In the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County Orphans’ Court at No(s): TPR 056 OF 2014 IN RE: T.M., A MINOR IN THE SUPERIOR COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA APPEAL OF: M.D. No. 1441 WDA 2014 Appeal from the Order August 6, 2014 In the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County Orphans’ Court at No(s): TPR 058 OF 2014 BEFORE: GANTMAN, P.J., JENKINS, J., and MUSMANNO, J. MEMORANDUM BY JENKINS, J.: FILED FEBRUARY 02, 2015 Appellant M.D. (“Mother”) appeals from the order entered in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, which involuntarily terminated J-S01030-15 her parental rights to her minor children, M.W. and T.M. (“Children”).1 We affirm. In its opinion, the trial court fully set forth the relevant facts of this appeal. Therefore, we have no reason to restate them. On April 10, 2014, the Allegheny County Office of Children, Youth and Families (“CYF”) filed a petition for involuntary termination of Mother’s parental rights to Children. Following a hearing on the petition, the court entered an order terminating Mother’s parental rights to Children on August 6, 2014. On September 4, 2014, Mother filed a timely notice of appeal along with a concise statement of errors complained of on appeal pursuant to Pa.R.A.P. 1925(a)(2)(i). Mother raises the following issue for our review: DID THE TRIAL COURT ABUSE ITS DISCRETION AND/OR ERR AS A MATTER OF LAW IN CONCLUDING THAT CYF MET ITS BURDEN OF PROVING BY CLEAR AND CONVINCING EVIDENCE THAT TERMINATION OF MOTHER’S PARENTAL RIGHTS WOULD BEST SERVE THE NEEDS AND WELFARE OF [CHILDREN] PURSUANT TO 23 PA.C.S. § 2511(B)? Mother’s Brief, p. 7. Our standard of review is as follows: When reviewing an appeal from a decree terminating parental rights, we are limited to determining whether the decision of the trial court is supported by competent evidence. Absent an abuse of discretion, an error of law, ____________________________________________ 1 The court also terminated the parental rights of the two natural fathers of Children, neither of whom appealed. Further, Mother has four other children, none of whom are the subject of this appeal. -2- J-S01030-15 or insufficient evidentiary support for the trial court’s decision, the decree must stand. Where a trial court has granted a petition to involuntarily terminate parental rights, this Court must accord the hearing judge’s decision the same deference that it would give to a jury verdict. We must employ a broad, comprehensive review of the record in order to determine whether the trial court’s decision is supported by competent evidence. Furthermore, we note that the trial court, as the finder of fact, is the sole determiner of the credibility of witnesses and all conflicts in testimony are to be resolved by [the] finder of fact. The burden of proof is on the party seeking termination to establish by clear and convincing evidence the existence of grounds for doing so. The standard of clear and convincing evidence means testimony that is so clear, direct, weighty, and convincing as to enable the trier of fact to come to a clear conviction, without hesitation, of the truth of the precise facts in issue. We may uphold a termination decision if any proper basis exists for the result reached. If the trial court’s findings are supported by competent evidence, we must affirm the court’s decision, even though the record could support an opposite result. In re Adoption of K.J., 936 A.2d 1128, 1131-32 (Pa.Super.2007), appeal denied, 951 A.2d 1165 (Pa.2008) (internal citations omitted). CYF filed its petition for the involuntary termination of Mother’s parental rights pursuant to the Adoption Act, 23 Pa.C.S. § 2101, et seq. Specifically, CYF’s petition sought termination on the following grounds: § 2511. Grounds for involuntary termination (a) General rule.--The rights of a parent in regard to a child may be terminated after a petition filed on any of the following grounds: * * -3- * J-S01030-15 (2) The repeated and continued incapacity, abuse, neglect or refusal of the parent has caused the child to be without essential parental care, control or subsistence necessary for his physical or mental well-being and the conditions and causes of the incapacity, abuse, neglect or refusal cannot or will not be remedied by the parent. * * * (5) The child has been removed from the care of the parent by the court or under a voluntary agreement with an agency for a period of at least six months, the conditions which led to the removal or placement of the child continue to exist, the parent cannot or will not remedy those conditions within a reasonable period of time, the services or assistance reasonably available to the parent are not likely to remedy the conditions which led to the removal or placement of the child within a reasonable period of time and termination of the parental rights would best serve the needs and welfare of the child. * * * (8) The child has been removed from the care of the parent by the court or under a voluntary agreement with an agency, 12 months or more have elapsed from the date of removal or placement, the conditions which led to the removal or placement of the child continue to exist and termination of parental rights would best serve the needs and welfare of the child. * * * (b) Other considerations.--The court in terminating the rights of a parent shall give primary consideration to the developmental, physical and emotional needs and welfare of the child. The rights of a parent shall not be terminated solely on the -4- J-S01030-15 basis of environmental factors such as inadequate housing, furnishings, income, clothing and medical care if found to be beyond the control of the parent. With respect to any petition filed pursuant to subsection (a)(1), (6) or (8), the court shall not consider any efforts by the parent to remedy the conditions described therein which are first initiated subsequent to the giving of notice of the filing of the petition. 23 Pa.C.S. § 2511. “Parental rights may be involuntarily terminated where any one subsection of Section 2511(a) is satisfied, along with consideration of the subsection 2511(b) provisions.” In re Z.P., 994 A.2d 1108, 1117 (Pa.Super.2010). “A proper section 2511(b) analysis focuses on whether termination of parental rights would best serve the developmental, physical, and emotional needs and welfare of the child.” In re T.D., 949 A.2d 910, 920 (Pa.Super.2008), appeal denied, 970 A.2d 1148 (Pa.2009). “Intangibles such as love, comfort, security, and stability are involved when inquiring about the needs and welfare of the child.” In re C.P., 901 A.2d 516, 520 (Pa.Super.2006). “In addition, we have instructed that the trial court must also discern the nature and status of the parent-child bond, with utmost attention to the effect on the child of permanently severing that bond.” In re T.D., supra. Section 2511(b), however, “does not require a formal bonding evaluation.” In re Z.P., supra at 1121. Further, we observe: There is no simple or easy definition of parental duties. Parental duty is best understood in relation to the needs of -5- J-S01030-15 a child. A child needs love, protection, guidance, and support. These needs, physical and emotional, cannot be met by a merely passive interest in the development of the child. Thus, this court has held that the parental obligation is a positive duty which requires affirmative performance. This affirmative duty encompasses more than a financial obligation; it requires continuing interest in the child and a genuine effort to maintain communication and association with the child. Because a child needs more than a benefactor, parental duty requires that a parent exert himself to take and maintain a place of importance in the child’s life. Parental duty requires that the parent act affirmatively with good faith interest and effort, and not yield to every problem, in order to maintain the parent-child relationship to the best of his...ability, even in difficult circumstances. A parent must utilize all available resources to preserve the parental relationship, and must exercise reasonable firmness in resisting obstacles placed in the path of maintaining the parent-child relationship. Parental rights are not preserved by waiting for a more suitable or convenient time to perform one’s parental responsibilities while others provide the child with [the child’s] physical and emotional needs. In re Z.P., supra at 1118-19 (internal citations omitted). “[A] parent’s basic constitutional right to the custody and rearing of his…child is converted, upon the failure to fulfill his…parental duties, to the child’s right to have proper parenting and fulfillment of his…potential in a permanent, healthy, safe environment.” In re B.,N.M. 856 A.2d 847, 856 (Pa.Super.2004), appeal denied, 872 A.2d 1200 (Pa.2005) (internal citations omitted). -6- J-S01030-15 After a thorough review of the record, the briefs of the parties, the applicable law, and the well-reasoned opinion of the Honorable Kathryn Hens-Greco, we conclude Mother’s issue merits no relief. The trial court’s Rule 1925(a) opinion comprehensively discusses and properly disposes of the question presented. See Trial Court Opinion, filed October 6, 2014, pp. 3-8 (finding: Mother first came to attention of CYS in 2002 when it received report one of Children may have been abused; Mother admitted to having anger management problems, mental health and substance abuse issues; for a decade, Mother has been unable to provide proper parental care for any significant stretch of time; Children have been active with juvenile court for duration of lives; Children have been removed from Mother over seven times, causing disruptions to permanency and harm to Children; Children’s greatest stability has come in months since final removal from Mother; years of disruptions have taken toll on Children; even after utilizing CYF services, Mother has struggled to provide any sort of prolonged care; Mother repeatedly left Children unattended; Mother’s mental health has regressed; Mother cannot appreciate the needs of Children; Mother cannot rectify problems and has demonstrated repeated incapability to care for Children; last removal occurred after Mother attended Family Group Decision Making Conference intoxicated with Children’s two-year-old sibling, who answered door for CYS while Mother was passed out on couch; termination serves best -7- J-S01030-15 interests of Children). Accordingly, we affirm on the basis of the trial court opinion. Judgment Entered. Joseph D. Seletyn, Esq. Prothonotary Date: 2/2/2015 -8- Circulated 01/26/2015 10:11 AM Circulated 01/26/2015 10:11 AM Circulated 01/26/2015 10:11 AM Circulated 01/26/2015 10:11 AM Circulated 01/26/2015 10:11 AM Circulated 01/26/2015 10:11 AM Circulated 01/26/2015 10:11 AM Circulated 01/26/2015 10:11 AM Circulated 01/26/2015 10:11 AM