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In re Z.I.

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga

August 31, 2017

IN RE: Z.I., ET AL. Minor Children [Appeal by Mother, T.I.]

         Civil Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Juvenile Division Case Nos. AD 13908327, AD 13908328, and AD13910215

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT R. Brian Moriarty

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE For C.C.D.C.F.S. Michael C. O'Malley Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael F. Kulcsar Cheryl Rice Assistant County Prosecutors C.C.D.C.F.S.

          Guardian Ad Litem Donald W. Ristity

          BEFORE: Stewart, J., Kilbane, P.J., and Boyle, J.

          JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION

          MELODY J. STEWART, J.:

         {¶1} This is an appeal from an order terminating the parental rights of appellant-mother T.I. and granting permanent custody of three children, twins IS.G. and IZ.G. (five years old), and their brother Z.I. (three years old), to appellee Cuyahoga County Division of Children and Family Services ("agency"). The sole assignment of error is that there is insufficient evidence to support the court's finding that granting the motion for permanent custody would be in the best interests of the children.

         {¶2} Two steps are required to terminate parental rights and award permanent custody of a child to the agency. First, the court must determine if any of the factors set forth in R.C. 2151.414(B)(1)(a)-(d) apply. Second, the court must then determine whether a grant of permanent custody is in the best interest of the child. See R.C. 2151.414(B)(1). There is no dispute that the children were in the temporary custody of one or more public children service agencies or private child placing agencies for 12 or more months of a consecutive 22-month period, satisfying R.C. 2151.414(B)(1)(d). The sole issue, then, is whether there was sufficient evidence to support the court's conclusion that granting the agency's motion for permanent custody was in the best interest of the children.

         {¶3} The factors the court must apply in its consideration of a child's best interests are stated in R.C. 2151.414(D)(1):

(a) The interaction and interrelationship of the child with the child's parents, siblings, relatives, foster caregivers and out-of-home providers, and any other person who may significantly affect the child;
(b)The wishes of the child, as expressed directly by the child or through the child's guardian ad litem, with due regard for the maturity of the child;
(c)The custodial history of the child, including whether 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, or 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 and, as described in division (D)(1) of section 2151.413 of the Revised Code, the child was previously in the temporary custody of an equivalent agency in another state;
(d)The child's need for a legally secure permanent placement and whether that type of placement can be achieved without a grant of permanent custody to the agency;
(e) Whether any of the factors in divisions (E)(7) to (11) of this section apply in relation to ...

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