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In re J.H.

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga

March 16, 2017

IN RE: J.H. A Minor Child [Appeal by L.W., Mother]

         Civil Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Juvenile Division Case No. AD 14911147

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT John H. Lawson

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEES For C.C.D.C.F.S. Michael C. O'Malley Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Joseph C. Young Michelle A. Myers Tamara Reeves Assistant County Prosecutors

          For Father William J. Daugherty

          Guardian ad Litem Cynthia M. Morgan, Esq.

          For Mother L.W.

          BEFORE: Blackmon, J., Keough, A.J., and E.T. Gallagher, J.

          JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION

          PATRICIA ANN BLACKMON, JUDGE

         {¶1} L.W. (referred to herein as "Appellant"), the mother of J.H., filed an appeal from the juvenile court order awarding permanent custody of J.H. to the Cuyahoga County Department of Children and Family Services ("CCDCFS"). Appellant's counsel has filed a motion to withdraw pursuant to Anders v. California, 386 U.S. 738, 87 S.Ct. 1396, 18 L.Ed.2d 493 (1967), asserting that following an examination of the record, including evidence that Appellant has also lost permanent custody of two of her other children, there are no meritorious grounds for appeal. After holding the motion in abeyance to give Appellant an opportunity to file a pro se brief, and following our own independent review, this court grants appointed counsel's motion to withdraw, and we dismiss the appeal.

         Factual and Procedural History

         {¶2} On August 29, 2014, several days after J.H. was born, CCDCFS filed a complaint alleging that J.H. is a dependent child and asking the court to award temporary custody to the maternal grandmother. In relevant part, CCDCFS alleged that Appellant has substance abuse problems, mental health issues, six of her other children are not in her care, one is in the legal custody of a family friend, and CCDCFS obtained permanent custody of two other children.

         {¶3} The trial court awarded temporary custody of the child to the maternal grandmother. CCDCFS subsequently implemented a case plan requiring Appellant to complete drug, alcohol, and mental health treatment, undergo random drug screens, and maintain appropriate housing. A guardian ad litem ("GAL") was appointed for the child.

         {¶4} Following a hearing on November 5, 2014, the trial court determined that J.H. is a dependent child after the parties stipulated that:

1. [Appellant] has a history of substance abuse and is currently enrolled in substance abuse treatment. [Appellant] has previously been referred for multiple drug treatment programs.
2. [Appellant] is diagnosed with depression and is in need of ongoing mental health services in order to provide adequate care for the child.
* * *
4. [Appellant] has six other children that are not in her care due to substance abuse. Three of the children are in the care of the maternal grandmother. One child is in the legal custody of a family friend. CCDCFS obtained permanent custody of two other children.
* * *
5. Alleged father * * * is in the process of establishing paternity and has visited the children.

         {¶5} On February 5, 2016, following two extensions of temporary custody, CCDCFS filed a motion to modify the temporary custody award to permanent custody. In relevant part, CCDCFS alleged:

7. [Appellant] has failed to complete substance abuse treatment, and has failed to consistently provide drug screens. [Appellant] also has six other children who are no longer in her care. [Appellant's] rights ...

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