The trial judge terminated the parents' rights, relying upon representations that the grandmother and great aunt were each committed to adopting the children. On appeal, the parents argued the record contained ambiguous hearsay statements by those resource relatives, which arguably indicated they were amenable to or might prefer a kinship legal guardianship ("KLG") arrangement over adoption.
This court upheld most of the trial judge's decision on the statutory factors for termination, but remanded to clarify the record with respect to whether the grandmother and great aunt respectively preferred KLG over adoption.The court construed the policies of the Kinship Legal Guardianship Act, N.J.S.A. 3B:12A-1 to -7, and the Kinship Legal Guardianship Notification Act, N.J.S.A. 30:4C-89 to -92, to make relevant a resource parent’s preferences as between adoption and KLG. The resource parent's consent to adopt the children in lieu of KLG must be adequately informed, as well as unambiguous, unequivocal, and unconditional.