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In the Matter of: R.P. and I.S.

October 14, 2011

IN THE MATTER OF: R.P. AND I.S., NEGLECTED/DEPENDENT CHILDREN


CHARACTER OF PROCEEDING: Civil appeal from the Tuscarawas County Court of Common Pleas, Case No. 10JN00138

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gwin, P.J.

Cite as In re R.P.,

JUDGES: : Hon. W. Scott Gwin, P.J. : Hon. Julie A. Edwards, J : Hon. Patricia A. Delaney, J.

OPINION

JUDGMENT: Affirmed

{¶1} Appellant-father R.P. III*fn1 appeals the April 26, 2011, judgment entry of the Tuscarawas County Court of Common Pleas, Juvenile Court Division, which terminated his parental rights with respect to his minor child, R.P. and his step-child I.S. and granted permanent custody of the children to appellee, Tuscarawas County Job & Family Services (hereinafter "TCJFS").

I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

{¶2} Appellant R.P. III is the biological father of R.P.*fn2 [b. 2/15/04].*fn3 On March 29, 2010, TCJFS filed a complaint alleging the minor children, R.P. age six and I.S. age eight were neglected and dependent. An adjudicatory hearing was held on May 25, 2010. The trial court found the children to be dependent and neglected. By agreement of the parties the case proceeded to immediate disposition. The parents agreed to the services set forth in the case plan and the court adopted the case plan for reunification with the parents. The children had remained in the custody of their parents since the filing of the complaint. The trial court ordered their removal at the conclusion of the dispositional hearing. The paternal grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. P. requested a home study, but the court denied the same at the dispositional hearing.

{¶3} The case was set for review hearing on August 30, 2010 and for annual review on March 21, 2011. The parents attended all hearings and participated in case plan services.

{¶4} The paternal grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. P. filed a motion to intervene, a motion for legal custody and temporary custody and a motion for a home study on February 14, 2011. The trial court overruled the grandparents' motion.

{¶5} On February 18, 2011, TCJFS filed a motion for permanent custody. The permanent custody hearing was held on April 7 and April 14, 2011 at the same time as the permanent custody hearing of R.P. and I.S.'s newborn brother R.E.P. The trial court awarded TCJFS permanent custody of all three children.

{¶6} The concerns presented were that the parents in the home, mother J.S. and father R.P. were not following through with the recommendations of TCJFS in a recently-closed diversion case. The parents would make improvements while TCJFS was involved with hygiene, supervision, etc., but as soon as TCJFS was no longer involved the situation devolved again to one of neglect.

{¶7} A case plan was filed for the parents with the goal of reunification. Worker Jaime Grunder testified that the plan did not require the parents to complete services that were very recently completed by mother and/or father, such as parenting classes.

{¶8} The children were placed in a foster home with the Village Network. The worker assigned to the children was Ms. Brandi Ankrom. Ms. Ankrom also is the counselor for R.P. The counselor for I.S. through the Village Network is Ms. Judy McGill. She already had a relationship with both R.P. and I.S. due to her position as the school social worker at New Philadelphia City Schools. The children were attending New Philadelphia Schools while in the home of the parents.

{¶9} When the schedule of the children's counseling was changed in late August 2010 due to scheduling reasons to directly follow the visits between the children and their parents, the counseling sessions for both I.S. and R.P. deteriorated dramatically. The visits were suspended for a brief trial period in October per the agreement of the parties. The visits were suspended indefinitely by the Court in February 2011 in an attempt to see if the visits were the reasons that the children had become out of control. The behaviors of the children improved dramatically according to all the professionals involved during the times when the visitation schedule was suspended.

{¶10} R.P. stated to Ms. Ankrom that he would get his "ass beat" in the home of his parents regarding his toileting accidents. I.S. also told his counselor Ms. McGill that he saw R.P. getting hit with a belt in reference to toileting issues. Ms. McGill testified that this physical retribution for toileting accidents made toileting issues worse for R.P.

{¶11} While the case was progressing with R.P. and I.S., Mother gave birth to R.E.P. on February 8, 2011.

{¶12} Ms. Grunder testified that mother continued to deny that she was pregnant and did not begin to receive prenatal care until December for her child that was born in February.

{¶13} Ms. Grunder further testified both parents completed their case plan objectives in this case. Ms. Grunder testified that the parents contacted Developmental Disability services but they were not eligible for services because they did not have mental health issues. Dr. Exley also recommended case management services for the parents. Ms. Grunder testified that mother did everything within her power to try and get case management services. The agency contacted CMH Southeast and MRDD now known as DD and when these 2 agencies reported parents were not eligible for services, the agency did nothing further to obtain case management services for the parents.

{¶14} The maternal grandmother, M. B. and her husband also offered to assist in case management services, but were denied.

{¶15} Judy McGill (I.S.'s counselor), Julie McFarland (R.P.'s personal one-on one school aide) and Brandi Ankrom (Village Network Assistant Coordinator and R.P.'s individual therapist) all testified that R.P.'s toileting issues of defecating and urinating in his pants have continued even though he has been in foster care for almost a year.

{¶16} Ms. McGill testified that she was aware of two accidents with R. P. since his visits with his parents were suspended and she was also aware of accidents occurring at the Village Network during counseling sessions. One of the accidents occurred when R.P. was sick with diarrhea and the other when he had a tooth pulled and was on antibiotics.

{¶17} Ms. McGill initially had contact with the older child I. S. through her position at New Philadelphia in the fall of 2007. At this time, he was in the care of his parents. Ms. McGill testified that "his behavior was very aggressive, he, his hygiene, um, very disheveled, he was often dirty, had a strong body odor". Someone had to intervene with I.S. because of his behaviors in the classroom every day.

{¶18} R.P.'s one-on-one personal school aide, Julie McFarland testified that she has been R.P.'s aide since January 2011 and that prior to January 2011, R. P. never had a one-on-one personal school aide. Ms. McFarland testified that when she first started working with R.P. in January 4, 2011 she had to remove him from the classroom every day. As of the date of trial Ms. McFarland still had to remove him from the classroom two to three times a week. R. P. is still soiling his pants during the 3 ½ months that she has been his personal aide and he still wears pull ups to school every day and wears them all day long. Ms. McFarland has also had to send R.P. home to the foster parents to clean him up for a soiling accident because it was a mess that needed more attention than just wipes at the school.

{¶19} Ms. McGill worked again with I. S. and R. P. in her position as a counselor at The Village Network. Ms. McGill testified that during the summer of 2010, her counseling sessions went fairly well. However, she further testified that once her sessions with the children directly followed the visitation the children had with their parents, the situation drastically changed. Ms. McGill testified that the behavior of the child deteriorated to a degree to which she only attempted to manage his behaviors, and there was very little counseling happening during those sessions.

{¶20} It came to a point in October 2010 where Ms. McGill and Ms. Brandi Ankrom, the counselor for R.P., asked TCJFS what could be done. It was decided, with the approval of the parents, that the visits between the children and their parents would be stopped for a two-week period to determine if any difference could be noted in the children. There was indeed an improvement for that short time. However, when visits were re-started, the problems restarted.

{¶21} Maternal grandmother Ms. B. testified that prior to the current case being filed, she was unaware that the children were having difficulty in school even though they were having contact with the children. She further referred to her daughter J.S. as a "good mom," and that they got good physical care from their parents.

{ΒΆ22} Paternal grandmother Ms. T. P. stated that she did not have any concerns about the children's mother and her ...


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