Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eleventh District, Ashtabula
from the Ashtabula County Court of Common Pleas, Juvenile
Division, Case No. 2014 JC 00030.
J. Gwirtz, Mandy Gwirtz, LLC, (For Appellant Mother).
Nicholas A. Iarocci, Ashtabula County Prosecutor, and Shelley
M. Pratt, Assistant Prosecutor, Jefferson Street, Jefferson,
Margaret A. Draper, Assistant Prosecutor (For Appellee
Ashtabula County Children Services Board).
B. Staley, Barthol & Staley, L.P.A., (Guardian ad litem).
R. WRIGHT, J.
Appellant, Teresa Toland, appeals the trial court's
decision terminating her parental rights and granting
permanent custody of her children, B.T., D.T., and C.T., to
the Ashtabula County Children Services Board (ACCSB). We
ACCSB filed its complaint for protective supervision in June
of 2014. Its verified complaint states that it has been
involved with the family since April of 2014 due to concerns
of neglect and because the family was homeless and living in
a motel room. There was also a history of abuse of B.T. by
mother's live-in boyfriend at the time, who is also
On December 22, 2014, the trial court granted ACCSB temporary
custody of the children for several reasons, including a lack
of an adequate home and appellant's failure to comply
with her mental health and drug screening requirements. The
children went into foster care. At the time of the final
hearing, they remained in the same home in which they had
been placed in December 2014. The foster family wants to
adopt all three children.
In July 2015, the ACCSB moved for permanent custody of the
three children alleging in part that they cannot be placed
with either parent in a reasonable time. Final hearing was
held June 9, 2016, and the magistrate found that the children
could not be placed with their parents in a reasonable time
and that a grant of custody was in the best interest of the
children. The trial court agreed.
Appellant raises one assigned error:
"The trial court erred by granting permanent custody of
B.T., D.T., and C.T. to the Ashtabula County Children
Services Board contrary to the manifest weight of the
A parent's right to raise a child is a basic civil right.
In re Phillips, 11th Dist. No. Ashtabula
2005-A-0020, 2005-Ohio-3774, ¶22, citing In re
Hayes, 79 Ohio St.3d 46, 48, 679 N.E.2d 680 (1997).
"The parent's rights, however, are not absolute.
Rather, '"it is plain that the natural rights of a
parent * * * are always subject to the ultimate welfare of
the child, which is the pole star or controlling principle to
be observed.'" In re Cunningham (1979), 59
Ohio St.2d 100, 106, 391 N.E.2d 1034 (quoting In re
R.J.C. (Fla.App. 1974), 300 So.2d 54,
58)." In re West, 4th Dist. Athens No. 05CA4,
Before a juvenile court can terminate parental rights and
award permanent custody to the requesting agency, it must
conduct a hearing and apply a two-pronged analysis. First, a
trial court must find by clear and convincing evidence that
one or more of the factors in R.C. 2151.414(B)(1)(a)-(e)
applies. One of these factors is whether the children cannot
be placed with either of the child's parents within a
reasonable time or should not be placed with their parents
based on an analysis of R.C. 2151.414(E). R.C.
2151.414(B)(1)(a); In re C.C., 11th Dist. Trumbull
Nos. 2016-T-0050 & 2016-T-0058, 2016-Ohio-7447, ¶74.
Second, upon finding one or more of these factors applicable,
the court then must determine whether granting custody of the
child to the agency is in the child's best interests
pursuant to the analysis in R.C. 2151.414(D). In re
L.M.R., 11th Dist. Lake No. 2016-L-096, 2017-Ohio-158,
The trial court proceeded under R.C. 2151.414(B)(1), which
"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
"(a) The child is not abandoned or orphaned, has not
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 has not 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 if, 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, 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."
The trial court likewise made findings under R.C.
2151.414(E), which provides in part:
"If the court determines, by clear and convincing
evidence, at a hearing held pursuant to division (A) of this
section or for the purposes of division (A)(4) of section
2151.353 of the Revised Code that one or more of the
following exist as to each of the child's parents, the
court shall enter a finding that the child cannot be
placed with either parent within a reasonable time or should
not be placed with either parent:
"(1) Following the placement of the child outside the
child's home and notwithstanding reasonable case planning
and diligent efforts by the agency to assist the parents to
remedy the problems that initially caused the child to be
placed outside the home, the parent has failed continuously
and repeatedly to substantially remedy the conditions causing
the child to be placed outside the child's home. In
determining whether the parents have substantially remedied
those conditions, the court shall consider parental
utilization of medical, psychiatric, psychological, and other
social and rehabilitative services ...