APPEAL FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF SUMMIT, OHIO CASE No. DN 11-05-0366
BARBARA J. ROGACHESFSKY, Attorney at Law, for Appellant.
SHERRI BEVAN WALSH, Prosecuting Attorney, and RICHARD S. KASAY, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for Appellee.
DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY
DONNA J. CARR, Judge.
(¶1} Appellant, Mary L. ("Mother"), appeals from a judgment of the Summit County Court of Common Pleas, Juvenile Division, that placed her minor child in the legal custody of a maternal aunt. This Court affirms.
(¶2} Mother is the natural mother of M.P., born July 17, 2006. On May 20, 2011, Akron Police were contacted by a homeless shelter because Mother had walked there with M.P. in the middle of the night and was speaking and behaving erratically. Because Mother required mental health treatment and refused to provide authorities with the name of a caregiver for the child, M.P. was removed from her custody pursuant to Juv.R. 6. The child was later adjudicated a dependent child and placed in the temporary custody of Summit County Children Services Board ("CSB").
(¶3} Mother was admitted to a mental health facility, where she received emergency psychiatric treatment for two days. Upon her discharge, the hospital mental health professionals advised her to follow up with regular psychiatric medication management and counseling. Consequently, the primary reunification goal of the case plan required Mother to obtain a full psychiatric assessment and follow up with recommended treatment for her mental illness. During the next 11 months, however, Mother did not follow up with a new assessment or any mental health treatment and continued to behave erratically around M.P. Despite continual encouragement from the caseworker and the guardian ad litem, Mother insisted that she did not need mental health treatment and refused to comply with the case plan.
(¶4} On May 8, 2012, CSB filed a motion to change the disposition of the child from temporary custody with the agency to legal custody with a maternal aunt. M.P. had been living in the aunt's home during this case and had developed a loving and stable relationship with her. The aunt was meeting all of M.P.'s needs, including several medical, dental, and educational needs that had not been addressed by Mother.
(¶5} Shortly after CSB filed the legal custody motion, Mother obtained a psychiatric assessment. The psychiatrist's written report was provided to CSB but Mother's counsel apparently did not see the report prior to the legal custody hearing. During the hearing before the magistrate, over the objections of Mother's counsel, CSB was permitted to briefly question the caseworker about the contents of the psychiatrist's report. Specifically, the caseworker testified that Mother had been diagnosed with psychotic disorder and was advised to see a psychiatrist and take medication. The caseworker further testified, from her own knowledge, that Mother had not been taking psychiatric medication or engaging in consistent mental health counseling.
(¶6} In support of the agency's motion, the caseworker explained that M.P. had "flourished" in the aunt's home. She described some of her observations of M.P. in the aunt's home and opined that the child and aunt were bonded and loved to spend time together. M.P. was doing well in school, was involved in extracurricular activities, and engaged in many activities with her extended family. M.P. had also told the caseworker that she wanted to continue living in the aunt's home.
(¶7} Following the hearing, the magistrate decided that M.P. should be placed in the legal custody of the aunt. Mother filed objections to the magistrate's decision, including that the magistrate erred in allowing the caseworker to testify about the contents of the psychiatric assessment. The trial court overruled Mother's objections and placed M.P. in the legal custody of the aunt. Mother appeals and raises one assignment of error.
ASSIGNMENT OF ...