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In re Z.H.

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fifth District

June 17, 2013

IN THE MATTER OF: Z.H. A NEGLECTED AND DEPENDENT CHILD

Civil Appeal from the Court of Common Pleas, Juvenile Division, Case No. 11 JN00493

For Appellant Mother: JOHN A. GARTRELL ASSISTANT PUBLIC DEFENDER

For Appellee: DAVID HAVERFIELD TCJFS

Guardian At Litem: KAREN DUMMERMUTH

For Child: ADAM WILGUS

Hon. John W. Wise, P. J. Hon. Patricia A. Delaney, J. Hon. Craig R. Baldwin, J.

OPINION

Wise, P. J.

{¶1} Appellant Melody Kollar appeals the decision of the Tuscarawas County Court of Common Pleas, Juvenile Division, which granted permanent custody of her son, Z.H., to Appellee Tuscarawas County Job and Family Services ("TCJFS"). The relevant facts leading to this appeal are as follows.

{¶2} Z.H., born in 1998, is the son of Richard H. and Appellant Melody.[1] There have been a number of agency interventions over the years regarding appellant's parenting, both as to Z.H. and appellant's two other children, including a court order of temporary custody in Harrison County in 1999. See Tr. at 7. The persistent concerns leading to court intervention by TCJFS in the present case include Z.H.'s absenteeism from school and appellant's alcohol abuse and mental health issues. On September 15, 2011, TCJFS filed a complaint in the trial court alleging that Z.H. was a neglected and dependent child. On October 18, 2011, following a combined adjudicatory and dispositional hearing (by consent of the parties), at which both appellant and Richard H. stipulated to an amended complaint, the trial court found Z.H. to be neglected and dependent under R.C. 2151.03 and 2151.04. The court also ordered Z.H. to remain in the temporary custody of TCDFS.

{¶3} On August 17, 2012, TCDFS filed a motion for permanent custody. An evidentiary hearing was conducted on January 10, 2013. Appellant appeared with counsel. In addition, an attorney appointed to represent Z.H. appeared, as well as the guardian ad litem and counsel for the agency. Richard H. proceeded pro se at the hearing.

{¶4} On January 14, 2013, the trial court issued a judgment entry granting permanent custody of Z.H. to TCJFS.

{¶5} On February 13, 2013, appellant filed a notice of appeal. She herein raises the following sole Assignment of Error:

{¶6} "I. THE TRIAL COURT ABUSED ITS DISCRETION IN AWARDING PERMANENT CUSTODY TO JOB AND FAMILY SERVICES AS JOB AND FAMILY SERVICES FAILED TO PROVE BY CLEAR AND CONVINCING EVIDENCE THAT THE CHILD COULD NOT BE PLACED WITH MOTHER IN A REASONABLE AMOUNT OF TIME, AND THAT AN AWARD OF ...


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