Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fifth District, Guernsey
IN THE MATTER OF: V.R. ALLEGED DEPENDENT/NEGLECTED/ABUSEDIN THE MATTER OF: G.R. ALLEGED DEPENDENT/NEGLECTED/ABUSED
from the Guernsey County Court of Common Pleas, Juvenile
Division, Case No. 15JC00543
Plaintiff-Appellee: MELISSA M. WILSON GUERNSEY CO.
Defendant-Appellant: RONALD C. COUCH MICHAEL GROH
JUDGES: Hon. Patricia A. Delaney, P.J. Hon. John W. Wise, J.
Hon. Craig R. Baldwin, J.
Mother appeals from the November 30, 2016 Journal Entry of
the Guernsey County Court of Common Pleas granting appellee
Guernsey County Children's Services'
("GCCS") motion for permanent custody of her two
children, V.R. and G.R.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Mother and Father are married and have two minor children
together: V.R. and G.R. GCCS began its involvement with this
family in January 2015 and opened a second case in May 2015.
Concerns reported to the agency included the children had
insufficient diapers, wipes, and formula; the family missed
important medical appointments; and both parents struggled
with drug and alcohol addiction.
The agency provided case management services throughout the
pendency of the case. Mother and Father were both referred
for drug and alcohol treatment; an in-home safety plan went
into effect on September 4, 2015 with a grandparent
supervising; and the parents were given gas cards to enable
them to get to doctor appointments.
The office manager of the children's pediatrician, Dr.
Lall, testified at the permanent custody hearing. Dr. Lall
was concerned especially with G.R., a child who failed to
thrive. Mother continually reported G.R. was throwing up and
wouldn't eat, but failed to follow through with
weight-check appointments. Dr. Lall changed the formula but
there was no positive weight gain. The doctor's office
referred the family to Help Me Grow, but they did not follow
through with appointments or allow agencies into the home for
visits. (The office manager reported that agencies would
knock on the door at the home and no one would answer the
door, but Mother answered the phone when the doctor's
When G.R. was fed in the doctor's office, he drank
"like crazy, " as though he was starving. G.R. was
admitted to Akron Children's Hospital at one point and
started gaining weight while hospitalized. The parents were
not cooperative in follow-up with the pediatrician or
specialists. In 2015, the parents missed 18 appointments out
of 28 scheduled. The parents argued with Dr. Lall about
treatment but inconsistencies were apparent: the parents
claimed specialists at Akron Children's Hospital gave
recommendations that were proven to be false, and the family
claimed WIC wouldn't give them milk when in fact WIC
reported the milk was available but they never picked it up.
On June 10, 2015, G.R. was nine months old but weighed only
13.8 pounds. The office manager reported G.R. was always
below three percent on the growth chart of where he should be
for his age.
The children came back to Dr. Lall after they were placed in
foster care, and the office manager described the improvement
as a "100-degree turn, " reporting both children as
healthy and happy. G.R. is currently gaining weight and the
foster parents do not miss appointments.
On September 25, 2015, GCCS was granted temporary custody of
the children in an emergency proceeding. The grandparent
refused to supervise the safety plan any longer because of
drug abuse issues with both parents and their failure to
comply with the safety plan. Father took V.R. to a bar and
proceeded to overdose on heroin. Mother was believed to be
high on methamphetamine because she was hallucinating and
cutting the grass with a pair of scissors. On the day of the
children's removal, Mother was at home alone with the
children and V.R. was outside, clad only in a shirt, with no
diaper, pants, socks, or shoes on.
On September 29, 2015, the trial court found probable cause
to believe the children were dependent/neglected and
continued the temporary custody of GCCS.
Both parents' visits with the children were highly
erratic. Father had a total of 33 visits scheduled and
attended 16. Mother had a total of 40 visits scheduled and
attended 8. During visitation, Mother was observed to be more
closely bonded with V.R. to the extent that she ignored G.R.
as the child crawled at her feet and had to be told to pick
him up and give him attention. Eventually the agency required
Mother to call if she planned to show up for visitation so
the agency could arrange for the foster parents to bring the
children to prevent the children from attending visits Mother
didn't show up for.
Mother did not appear at the adjudicatory hearing on December
1, 2015. Mother's counsel requested a continuance, which
was denied. The trial court found the children to be
dependent and continued the custody of GCCS.
Mother again failed to appear at the dispositional hearing on
December 21, 2015; another continuance was requested and
denied. Custody of the children remained with GCCS.
Mother again failed to appear for the review hearing on March
16, 2016; another continuance was requested and denied.
Mother's last visit with the children was May 6, 2016 and
she had no interaction with the agency after that. Mother
failed to appear at another review hearing on June 13, 2016.
Father's last visit with the children was January 6,
2016. He was thereafter removed from the case plan because he