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In Re: C.B. A Minor Child

October 27, 2011


Civil Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Juvenile Division Case No. AD 06900501

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sean C. Gallagher, J.:

Cite as In re C.B.,



BEFORE: S. Gallagher, J., Boyle, P.J., and Cooney, J.

{¶1} This appeal is before this court on remand from the Ohio Supreme Court, after it reversed our determination that the appeal should be dismissed for lack of a final appealable order. In re C.B., 129 Ohio St.3d 231, 2011-Ohio-2899, 951 N.E.2d 398.

{¶2} Appellant, Mother, appeals from the judgment of the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, Juvenile Division, that granted legal custody of the child, C.B., to Father.*fn1 The child's guardian ad litem filed a cross-appeal on behalf of the child, challenging the trial court's denial of the motion for permanent custody of the Cuyahoga County Department of Children and Family Services ("CCDCFS") and the award of legal custody to Father.*fn2 For the reasons stated herein, we reverse the judgment of the trial court, vacate the trial court's order, and award permanent custody of the child to CCDCFS.

{¶3} The child was born on April 16, 2005. Mother and Father are her biological parents. They are not married and live separately. On March 22, 2006, CCDCFS filed a complaint for dependency and temporary custody. The child was adjudicated dependent, and CCDCFS was granted temporary custody on June 7, 2006.*fn3 After more than a year, CCDCFS filed a motion to modify temporary custody to permanent custody on July 27, 2007. Mother stipulated to the motion, while Father denied the allegations in the motion. The matter proceeded to a hearing, commencing in October 2008, over two years after the child had been placed in temporary custody of CCDCFS.*fn4 Mother again stipulated to a finding of permanent custody for CCDCFS.

{¶4} At the hearing, the child's foster mother testified she had been the foster parent for approximately two and one-half years without interruption. The child was placed in her care at the age of nine months. The child is healthy with no developmental delays, attends preschool, and is involved in several activities. There are two other children in the foster family. The child is loved by the foster family and has bonded with them. The foster mother is open to adopting the child.

{¶5} The foster mother indicated that the child throws temper tantrums before visits with Father, does not want to go, and states she is afraid of him. The foster mother acknowledged that Father brings things for the child and that the child has stated she loves her dad.

{¶6} Loretha Knight, a social worker for CCDCFS, was assigned to the case in January 2007. She testified that the child was removed from her parents' care on December 23, 2005, after Mother dropped the child off at a police station. The child has been continuously in the custody of CCDCFS since June 2006. Knight stated that the child has adjusted well to foster care and has a very good bond with her foster family.

{¶7} Though Father took issue with the child's treatment at a hospital during her foster care, the testimony reflected the child was treated for a bad diaper rash or vaginal infection and there was no evidence or findings of any sexual abuse. Knight confirmed an incident in which the child's hair was cut by another child in the foster home. However, she indicated that no violations were issued. She found that the child's basic needs were being provided for in a loving environment.

{¶8} Knight stated that the child has a good bond with Father and that Father has had both supervised and unsupervised visits with the child. Nevertheless, Knight stated her belief that permanent custody was in the child's best interest.

{¶9} Knight indicated she was not satisfied with Father's progress on the case plan. The goals of his case plan were emotional stability, including the completion of a psychological assessment with the court diagnostic clinic and obtaining appropriate assistance; obtaining safe, stable, and appropriate housing; obtaining adequate financial resources; and learning parenting skills, including completion of a parenting program. Although Father's apartment appeared to be a suitable environment, his former place of residence was found unsuitable. Further, Father failed to provide requested documentation to establish stability. Father had six or seven jobs from 2006 until the time of the hearing. Knight was not able to verify whether Father had completed parenting education programs.

{¶10} There was also concern with regard to Father's mental health status. Knight was aware that Mother and Father had met in a mental health facility and that Father had admitted to having been diagnosed with bipolar disorder in the past. However, Father refused to discuss his mental health history and did not provide any further information. Knight learned that Father had been hospitalized for psychiatric reasons, he was diagnosed with certain psychiatric disorders, and follow-up treatment was recommended. The discharge date was December 23, 2003. There is no evidence that Father obtained follow-up care or treatment. Father also had a brother and a parent with a psychiatric condition.

{ΒΆ11} Father was referred for a psychological evaluation with the court diagnostic clinic, but failed to attend. While Father did complete an evaluation with another provider, there ...

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