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In re L.W.

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Third District, Marion

June 19, 2017

IN RE: L.W., ADJUDICATED DEPENDENT CHILD. [JAMES WISE, JR. - APPELLANT] IN RE: S.W., ADJUDICATED DEPENDENT CHILD. [JAMES WISE, JR. - APPELLANT]

         Appeals from Marion County Common Pleas Court Juvenile Division Trial Court Nos. 2015AB76 and 2015AB75

          Andrew S. Wick for Appellant

          Justin J. Kahle for Appellee

          OPINION

          WILLAMOWSKI, J.

         {¶1} Appellant James Wise, Jr. ("James") brings this appeal from the judgments of the Court of Common Pleas of Marion County, Juvenile Division, terminating his parental rights and granting permanent custody of S.W. and L.W. ("the children") to the Marion County Children's Services Board ("the Agency"). James argues on appeal that the trial court erred by not making the necessary findings. For the reasons set forth below, the judgments are affirmed.

         {¶2} On March 20, 2015, L.W. and S.W. were born to James and the mother, Laura ("Laura"). Doc. 1. The Agency immediately filed a motion for emergency temporary custody on the grounds that the parents had previously had seven other children removed due to the conditions of the home. Doc. 2. The trial court granted the motion. Doc. 1 and 3. On March 31, 2015, the Agency filed a complaint alleging that the children were abused and dependent. Doc. 4. The complaint alleged that Laura and the children all tested positive for barbiturates at the time of the birth of the children. Id. A guardian ad litem ("GAL") was appointed for the children on April 3, 2015. Doc. 7. An adjudication hearing was held on June 22, 2015. Doc. 19. The parties all stipulated that the children were dependent. Id. The magistrate ultimately issued his decision and the trial court adopted the decision of the magistrate on May 13, 2016. Doc. 19 and 20. The dispositional hearing was held on August 6, 2015. Doc. 21. On May 13, 2016, the magistrate ultimately issued his decision granting temporary custody of the children to the Agency. Id. The trial court adopted the dispositional recommendation of the magistrate on the same day. Doc. 22.

         {¶3} On July 14, 2016, the Agency filed its motions for permanent custody of the children on the grounds that the children should not be placed with either parent. Doc. 25. A hearing on the motions was held on October 6, 2016. Doc. 38. The trial court found that the children could not be placed with their parents within a reasonable time and that it was in the best interest of the children to terminate the parental rights of James and Laura and grant permanent custody to the Agency. Id. The ruling of the court was journalized on October 26, 2016. Id. On November 22, 2016, James filed his notice of appeal.[1] Doc. 44. On appeal, James raises one assignment of error.

         The trial court did not properly consider the specific factors required by Ohio Revised Code 2151.414(D) when granting a Motion for Permanent Custody when it granted [the Agency's] Motion for Permanent Custody.

         {¶4} The sole assignment of error argues that the trial court did not consider the statutory factors in reaching its conclusion that terminating the parental rights of James and granting permanent custody of the children to the Agency was in the best interests of the children. The right to parent one's own child is a basic and essential civil right. In re Murray, 52 Ohio St.3d 155, 556 N.E.2d 1169 (1990). "Parents have a 'fundamental liberty interest' in the care, custody, and management of their children." In re Leveck, 3d Dist. No. 5-02-52, 5-02-53, 5-02-54, 2003-Ohio- 1269, ¶ 6. These rights may be terminated, however, under appropriate circumstances and when all due process safeguards have been followed. Id. When considering a motion to terminate parental rights, the trial court must comply with the statutory requirements set forth in R.C. 2151.414. These requirements include, in pertinent part, as follows.

(B)(1) Except as provided in division (B)(2) of this section, the court may grant permanent custody of a child to a movant if the court determines at the hearing held pursuant to division (A) of this section, by clear and convincing evidence, that it is in the best interest of the child to grant permanent custody of the child to the agency that filed the motion for permanent custody and that any of the following apply:
(a) The child is not abandoned or orphaned, has not been in the temporary custody of one or more public children services agencies * * * for twelve or more months of a consecutive twenty-two month period, * * * and the child cannot be placed with either of the child's parents within a reasonable time or should not be placed with the child's parents.
* * *
(d) The child has been in the temporary custody of one or more public children services agencies or private child placing agencies for twelve or more months of a consecutive twenty-two-month period * * *.
For the purposes of division (B)(1) of this section, a child shall be considered to have entered the temporary custody of an agency on the earlier of the date the child is adjudicated pursuant to [R.C. 2151.28] or the date that is ...

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