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In re L.M.

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Ninth District

June 26, 2013

IN RE: L.M.

APPEAL FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF SUMMIT, OHIO CASE No. DN 11-08-566

RONALD T. GATTS, Attorney at Law, for Appellant.

SHERRI BEVAN WALSH, Prosecuting Attorney, and HEAVEN DIMARTINO, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for Appellee.

DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY

EVE V. BELFANCE, Judge.

{¶1} Appellant, Latasha M. ("Mother"), appeals from a judgment of the Summit County Court of Common Pleas, Juvenile Division, that terminated her parental rights to her minor child, L.M., and placed her in the permanent custody of Summit County Children Services ("CSB"). This Court affirms.

I.

{¶2} L.M., born April 19, 2008, had been living with Mother before this case began. Paternity was never established, and no one claiming to be the father of L.M. ever appeared.

{¶3} The case began with a complaint filed on August 22, 2011, alleging neglect and dependency of L.M. The filing was spurred by events occurring shortly before that date. Mother later testified that she was in the process of moving from Cleveland to the Akron area and left L.M. with a friend for "three or four days" so that she could set up a new apartment. When the friend later refused to give the child back to her, Mother called the police for assistance in retrieving her daughter.

{¶4} When the police arrived, they had concerns that Mother was under the influence of an intoxicant and also recognized the home address Mother provided as a drug house. Mother apparently could not provide the names of any relatives that could care for the child. Consequently, the police assumed custody of L.M. and contacted CSB.

{¶5} At the adjudicatory hearing, the magistrate heard testimony that Mother may have left L.M. with the friend for more than a few days and, perhaps, as long as six weeks. The magistrate determined that the friend was an inappropriate care provider as she had previously lost custody of her own children. The trial court found L.M. to be neglected and dependent, and placed the child in the temporary custody of the agency. The trial court also adopted the case plan put forward by the agency. That case plan addressed concerns regarding housing, substance abuse, and mental health.

{¶6} On November 22, 2011, CSB moved, pursuant to R.C. 2151.419(A)(2)(e), to bypass the statutory requirement that CSB make reasonable efforts to return the child to Mother's home on the basis that Mother's parental rights had been involuntarily terminated in 2003 with respect to another child. The motion was granted and, therefore, the agency was not required to make reasonable efforts to prevent the removal of the child from her home, eliminate the continued removal of the child from her home, or return the child to her home. See R.C. 2151.419(A)(2).

{¶7} On June 18, 2012, the agency moved for permanent custody. Following a hearing on the motion, the trial court granted permanent custody of L.M. to CSB. Mother appeals and assigns two errors for review.

II.

ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR I
THE COURT ERRED AND ABUSED ITS DISCRETION IN PLACING THE CHILD IN THE PERMANENT CUSTODY OF SUMMIT COUNTY CHILDREN SERVICES AS THE MANIFEST WEIGHT OF THE EVIDENCE PROVIDED FOR THE GRANTING OF A SIX MONTH EXTENSION ...

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