DYFS v. D.R. and C.F./Matter of E.R., unpublished opinion, App. Div. Docket No. A-4239-08T4 (June 2, 2010) – Order terminating D.R.’s parental rights reversed.
While DYFS had proved by clear and convincing evidence that D. R. had endangered E.R.’s safety, health and development by failing to attend to his medical needs and provide stable housing for him, DYFS failed to satisfy the second prong of the best interest test where the record shows his progress in complying with DYFS’ goals and his willingness and ability to provide a safe and stable home for E.R., albeit with in-home services and supervision from DYFS.
The record does not support a finding that a further delay in permanent placement to give D.R. additional time to progress would have resulted in additional harm to E.R. DYFS also failed to satisfy the third prong of the test where it made no effort for the first 16 months of E.R’s life to engage D.R. in any services and when it did develop a plan for him, it offered him no services to obtain stable housing and full-time employment. The court remands for further proceedings to include an updated evaluation of D.R.’s present fitness to parent E.R. and of N.R., the child’s grandmother, to determine if she wants to raise E.R. if reunification with D.R. is not in E.R.’s best interests.