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In re: L.D.-C.

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Ninth District, Wayne

March 6, 2017

IN RE: L.D.-C.

         APPEAL FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF WAYNE, OHIO CASE No. 2015 JUV-C 000519

          MICHELLE FINK, Attorney at Law, for Appellant.

          DANIEL R. LUTZ, Prosecuting Attorney, and MELODY L. BRIAND, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for Appellee.

          DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY

          THOMAS A. TEODOSIO Judge

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

         I.

         {¶2} Mother is the biological mother of L.D.-C, born October 15, 2014. Although Mother has three older children, those children were not parties to these proceedings. The father of L.D.-C. did not appeal from the trial court's judgment.

         {¶3} According to the allegations in CSB's complaint, L.D.-C. was removed from Mother's custody on May 8, 2015, pursuant to Juv.R. 6 because heroin and fentanyl were found in the child's diaper bag during a traffic stop of the vehicle in which Mother and the child were riding as passengers. All adults in the vehicle were arrested and authorities were unable to locate local relatives to care for the child. CSB filed a dependency complaint the next day.

         {¶4} The complaint further alleged that Mother had been investigated by a children services agency in Michigan because she tested positive for drugs when the child was born, but the Michigan agency had lost contact with Mother. Mother would later admit that she had a long history of children services cases in Michigan because of concerns about her drug use and failure to supervise her children. When this case began, it was unclear who had legal custody of Mother's older three children, but they were not in Ohio with Mother. Consequently, CSB did not become involved with those children.

         {¶5} At the shelter care hearing the next day, Mother told the trial court that she did not reside in Wooster but had been staying with friends there. She explained that she previously had been staying with other friends in Michigan, but was planning to move in with the maternal grandmother in Georgia, where her three older children were then living. Mother admitted that she had no permanent residence at that time and that she was not sure where she would live if the court did not allow her to take L.D.-C. to Georgia with her.

         {¶6} Mother later agreed that the trial court should adjudicate L.D.-C. a dependent child and place him in the temporary custody of CSB, and that the trial court should adopt the case plan as an order of the court. The case plan required Mother to obtain a substance abuse assessment and follow all drug testing and treatment recommendations; obtain and maintain stable income and housing; complete parenting classes; and develop and maintain a bond through regular contact with L.D.-C.

         {¶7} During the first several months of this case, Mother remained in Wooster briefly, returned to Michigan, and then moved to Georgia, where she resided with the maternal grandmother and her three older children. Mother completed a substance abuse assessment while she was in Georgia. The professional who evaluated Mother recommended that she complete an intensive outpatient treatment program to address her long-term use of marijuana and that she regularly provide urine samples for drug screening.

         {¶8} Mother did not follow up with any drug treatment, nor did she submit to regular drug screening. In fact, Mother admitted that she continued to use marijuana regularly to deal with symptoms that she attributed to depression and anxiety. Mother did not obtain stable income or housing, as she moved between multiple locations in Michigan and Georgia during this case. Moreover, she failed to visit L.D.-C. on a regular basis.

         {¶9} On April 6, 2016, CSB moved for permanent custody of L.D.-C. At the time of the review hearing shortly afterward, Mother informed the trial court that she had moved to a different address in Michigan and that she was attempting to comply with the reunification requirements of the case plan. The trial court continued the permanent custody hearing for several months to allow Mother more ...


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