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In re RIS

36 A.3d 567 (2011)

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In re RIS

Pennsylvania Supreme Court

36 A.3d 567 (2011)

Facts

In 2009, York County Children and Youth services (CYS) (plaintiff) filed a petition to change the placement goals of two minor children, RIS and AIS, from reunification to adoption. The petition also requested the court to involuntarily terminate the parental rights of the father, CS (defendant) and mother, KH. The children had been adjudicated as dependents and placed in foster care the previous year after CS was incarcerated with a two- to four-year sentence and KH requested emergency placement. The trial court held a hearing on the petition. During the hearing, CS presented evidence that he had complied with the goals of the reunification plan by remaining in contact with CYS, completing therapeutic programs, maintaining good prison conduct, and remaining in contact with the children during his incarceration by sending cards and participating in a parent-child reading program. CS also presented evidence that he had tried to request visitation with the children and had tried to call the children, but both efforts were unsuccessful. The trial court denied the goal change and the involuntary termination of CS’s parental rights. CYS appealed. The superior court reversed the trial court. The superior court acknowledged that although incarceration alone is not a proper basis to terminate parental rights, in this case, CS’s incarceration was evidence of parental incapacity. CS appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (McCaffery, J.)

Concurrence (Baer, J.)

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