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In re A.C.B.

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eleventh District, Portage

June 5, 2017


         Civil Appeals from the Portage County Court of Common Pleas, Juvenile Division, Case Nos. 2014 JCC 1008 and 2014 JCC 1009.

          Shubhra N. Agarwal, (For Appellant, Petrina A. Bishop).

          Victor V. Vigluicci, Portage County Prosecutor, and Brandon J. Wheeler, Assistant Prosecutor, (For Appellee, Portage County Department of Job and Family Services).

          Robert E. Rosenberg and Michael D. Dailey, Rosenberg & Associates, (For Appellees, Pamela Wise and Charles Wise).

          Leonard J. Brieding, II, Guardian ad Litem


          DIANE V. GRENDELL, J.

         {¶1} Appellant, Petrina Bishop, appeals from the judgment of the Portage County Court of Common Pleas, Juvenile Division, granting legal custody of her children to their grandparents, appellees Pamela and Charles Wise. The issues to be determined in this case are whether a parent can move for children's services to receive an extension of temporary custody, whether a grandparent can intervene in a matter where children's services is seeking custody to be awarded to that grandparent, and whether a parent who has complied with some aspects of the case plan but relapsed on drugs should be permitted to have custody of her children. For the following reasons, the judgment of the lower court is affirmed.

         {¶2} Bishop is the biological mother of A.C.B., born on October 20, 2003, and M.M.B., born on March 8, 2008.

         {¶3} On December 1, 2014, appellee, Portage County Department of Job and Family Services (PCDJFS), filed Complaints alleging that the two children were abused, neglected, and dependent. The Complaints asserted that Bishop was arrested for Aggravated Trafficking in Drugs and Endangering Children; a recent incident of domestic violence involving Bishop and M.M.B.'s father, David Davis, occurred in the children's presence; and concerns existed regarding Bishop's and Davis' drug use.

         {¶4} A shelter care hearing was held and the children were placed in the predispositional custody of PCDJFS on December 2, 2014.

         {¶5} On January 21, 2015, the children were adjudicated dependent due to "alleged drug use; lack of parenting skills; alleged violence in the home, and the failure to protect" the children. The abuse and neglect allegations were dismissed on PCDJFS' motion.

         {¶6} Following a dispositional review hearing, on May 8, 2015, the children were ordered to remain in the temporary custody of PCDJFS and a case plan was adopted.

         {¶7} PCDJFS filed a Motion for Six-Month Extension of Temporary Custody on September 22, 2015, which was granted on November 23, 2015.

         {¶8} On March 9, 2016, PCDJFS filed Motions for Change of Custody and to Terminate Case, requesting that legal custody of the children be granted to their grandparents, the Wises, with whom they had been living since November 26, 2014.

         {¶9} Pamela Wise filed Motions to Intervene and Motions for Temporary Custody and Permanent Custody on April 11, 2016.

         {¶10} Bishop filed Motions for Six Month Extension and to Amend Case Plan on April 26, 2016, requesting that the children remain in the temporary custody of PCDJFS so she would have additional time to reunify with them.

         {¶11} A hearing was held on May 19, 2016. Prior to hearing testimony, the trial court dismissed Bishop's request for a six-month extension, finding that PCDJFS was the only entity that could request such an extension. The court also granted Pamela Wise's Motion to Intervene. The following pertinent testimony was presented:

         {¶12} Alexandria Bevere, a social worker for PCDJFS, testified regarding her work with Bishop and the children and attempts to reunify them. A semiannual review was conducted on April 20, 2016, during which time A.C.B.'s father was incarcerated, M.M.B.'s father was on probation, and Bishop was in NEOCAP, a community based corrections facility, since, in February 2016, a drug test taken in relation to her criminal charges of Child Endangerment and Possession of Drugs was positive.

         {¶13} Bevere opined that Bishop "continues to make poor choices for herself and her children." She expressed concerns about Bishop's ability to maintain sobriety, noting a positive drug test in November 2014 and the relapse in February 2016, indicating that she had tested positive for marijuana and "molly, " or ecstasy. Bishop had done well with correcting her drug issues in the first year of the case plan and did not have a positive drug test, but in November 2015, she began missing her Town Hall appointments for drug and alcohol treatment, being discharged due to her lack of participation, as she attended nine of 23 sessions and eventually was unable to finish due to being placed in NEOCAP after her relapse.

         {¶14} Bishop also lost her public housing due to being in NEOCAP. While she expressed that she wanted to go to Miller House when she is released, Bevere testified that they could not guarantee when she may receive housing. Regarding Bishop's employment prior to entering NEOCAP, Bevere testified that Bishop said she was cleaning houses but she was unable to confirm that. Bevere noted that Bishop had been participating in counseling with the children, visited the children, and had completed the requirement to do a parenting evaluation prior to her placement in NEOCAP.

         {¶15} Bevere testified about the children's "huge progress" while living with the Wises, who provide a safe home. The Wises worked with A.C.B. on completing his homework and he has improved his grades. Both kids are participating in sports and other activities. Bevere stated that "the children have made significant improvement with their trauma due to the removal" and have received therapy to deal with their past exposure to "ongoing domestic violence." She saw no concerns with the Wises' ability to parent the children.

         {¶16} Pamela Wise testified that she has a good relationship with the children, they participate in activities, they have an allowance and bank accounts, and she and her husband are bonded with them and provide stability. A.C.B. is performing better in school and has increased self-esteem. Charles ...

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