In the Interest of L.C., II - Superior Court - May 11, 2006http://www.aopc.org/OpPosting/Superior/out/S02045_06.pdf
Held, grandmother was not a proper party and did not have standing to participate in a juvenile case at which the grandson's dependency was adjudicated.
Participation in juvenile cases is restricted to parties, i.e., a) parents of the child; b) the legal custodian of the child; and c) the person whose care and control of the child is at issue.
Grandmother did not fit any of these categories, although she had had custody of the child for 14 years, until July 2003, when custody was granted to child's mother and partial custody (one weekend per month) granted to g/m.
The juvenile law, 42 Pa. C.S. 6301-65, mandates that the adjudication and disposition of a dependent child must be addressed separately and in sequential order. A dependency determiantion is a prerequisite to a custody disposition.
The court said that its conclusion about standing in the adjudication of dependency "does not mean the Grandmother would lack standing to seek custody of her grandson," once dependency was established, citing R.M. v. Baxter,, 777 A,2d 446 (Pa. 2001), and In re Adoption of Hess, 608 A.2d 10 (Pa. 1992) (emphasis in original).