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Smith v. Williams-Ash

December 14, 2006

MELODY SMITH, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
JUDY WILLIAMS-ASH, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: S. Arthur Spiegel United States Senior District Judge

OPINION AND ORDER

This matter is before the Court on Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (doc. 51), Plaintiffs' Memorandum in Opposition to Defendant's Motion (doc. 52), and Defendant's Reply Memorandum in Further Support of its Motion (doc. 53)*fn1 . For the reasons stated herein, the Court GRANTS Defendant's motion.

I. Background

A. Factual Background

The facts in this case were detailed in a previous Order of this Court. They are, for the most part, simply restated here. On March 17, 2004 Richard Montifiore ("Montifiore") visited the home of Plaintiffs David and Melody Smith ("Plaintiff Parents") to check on Plaintiff Malake Dancer ("Malake") as part of the Hamilton County Job and Family Services' Kinship Program ("Kinship Program") (doc. 1). Malake is severely disabled (doc. 1). The Kinship Program is "a program to support ancillary services for care givers who are awarded legal custody of their relative children (the program also includes non-relatives who have familiar relationship with the child(ren))" (doc. 7). Montifiore determined that Plaintiff Parents' children should be removed from their home because of the home's state of uncleanliness (doc. 11). Montifiore also contacted the Springfield Township Police and ultimately, Parent Plaintiffs were charged with child endangerment, pursuant to Ohio Revised Code Section 2919.22, and were later convicted of that offense (doc. 7). Plaintiff Parents' children, Mari Katlyn and David, as well as Malake, are Plaintiffs in this case and will be referred to, collectively, as "Plaintiff Children."

Defendant Judy Williams-Ash, an employee of the Hamilton County Department of Jobs and Family Services ("HCDJFS"), pursuant to a "Safety Plan," removed the Plaintiff Children from the Plaintiff Parents' home and placed them with friends of Plaintiff Parents (doc. 1). The Safety Plan states "[y]our decision to sign this safety plan is voluntary" and provides:

1. This safety plan is a specific agreement to help ensure your child(ren)'s safety.

2. The custody of your child(ren) does not change under this safety plan.

3. Children's Services is here to help you protect your child(ren) when you may not be able to do it on your own.

4. If you cannot or will not be able to continue following the plan, Children's Services may have to take other action(s) to keep your child(ren) safe.

5. The safety plan will end when you are able to protect your child(ren) without help from Children's Services.

6. This safety plan may be changed if new or different services are necessary.

7. You must contact your caseworker immediately if you decide that you cannot or will not be able to continue ...


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