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In re C.M.

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Twelfth District, Clermont

January 9, 2017

IN THE MATTER OF: C.M.

         APPEAL FROM CLERMONT COUNTY COURT OF COMMON PLEAS JUVENILE DIVISION Case No. 2012 JC 0432

          Megan Salyers, guardian ad litem

          Dever Law Firm, Scott Hoberg, for appellant

          D. Vincent Faris, Clermont County Prosecuting Attorney, Nicholas A. Horton, for appellee

          OPINION

          RINGLAND, J.

         {¶ 1} Appellant, the biological mother of CM. ("Mother"), appeals a decision of the Clermont County Court of Common Pleas, Juvenile Division, granting permanent custody of CM. to appellee, the Clermont County Department of Job and Family Services ("CCDJFS"). For the reasons detailed below, we affirm.

         {¶ 2} On January 9, 2012, CCDJFS filed a dependency complaint and requested temporary custody of CM., who was less than two years old. The complaint alleged that CCDJFS received a report stating that Mother had overdosed on heroin. Following a hearing, CM. was adjudicated a dependent child. CM. remained in the custody of Mother, but was subject to the protective supervision of CCDJFS.

         {¶ 3} Mother's case plan including housing, income, mental health, drug treatment, and parenting education. Mother made progress towards the completion of her case plan, particularly with her completion of a substance abuse treatment program. However, the record reflects that CCDJFS continued to express concerns with respect to Mother's maturity and ability to parent. Throughout the pendency of these proceedings, C.M.'s father has failed to enter into a case plan and has no involvement in this matter.

         {¶ 4} The ensuing years brought continued involvement with Mother and CCDJFS. On November 8, 2012, CCDJFS was granted temporary custody through an emergency order. Following a hearing, CM. was again placed with Mother, again subject to the protective supervision of CCDJFS.

         {¶ 5} CM. was again removed on June 10, 2013 and temporary custody was granted to the agency on August 16, 2013. CCDJFS moved for permanent custody on August 22, 2014. Following a hearing, CCDJFS was denied permanent custody of CM. and Mother, again, was able to obtain protective supervision of CM. on April 10, 2015.

         {¶ 6} CCDJFS moved for permanent custody a second time and a trial was held on February 5, 2016. At the permanent custody hearing, the state presented the testimonies of several CCDJFS caseworkers, the guardian ad litem ("GAL"), C.M.'s foster father, as well as Mother's counselor and other individuals assigned to her case to assist with parenting and responsibility issues.

         {¶ 7} Mother testified in support of her case and also called an independent homecare provider, her brother, and a neighbor. In addition, Maternal Grandmother testified in support of Mother and also in support of her own motion for custody.

         {¶ 8} The GAL prepared a written report in which she recommended permanent custody be granted to the agency. The GAL noted that Mother and CM. are bonded, but expressed serious concern with Mother's maturity and ability to parent. In addition, the GAL testified that Maternal Grandmother was not a suitable placement, as she had not completed a home study and there were concerns that Mother would continue to exert influence and "run the show" with respect to CM. In addition, there were concerns with Maternal Grandmother's stability in her current living arrangement. While Maternal Grandmother maintained an apartment, she did not have long-term plans at that residence and there were concerns that she would return to her home in Moscow, Ohio. At the time, Maternal Grandmother's son and his family resided in the Moscow home and had had been uncooperative with CCDJFS. In her testimony, Maternal Grandmother admitted that her son and his wife had a background that included "some things" on "the unacceptable list."

         {¶ 9} After taking the matter under advisement, the juvenile court magistrate granted permanent custody in favor of CCDJFS. Mother then filed objections to the magistrate's decision, which were overruled. Mother now appeals the juvenile court's decision ...


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