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In re T.W.

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Twelfth District, Warren

October 23, 2017

IN THE MATTER OF: T.W.

         APPEAL FROM WARREN COUNTY COURT OF COMMON PLEAS JUVENILE DIVISION Case No. 16-D000024

          Andrew G. Ostrowski, guardian ad litem and attorney for child.

          Eric V. Robinson, for appellant, T.G.

          David P. Fornshell, Warren County Prosecuting Attorney, Kirsten A. Brandt, for appellee, Warren County Children Services

          Maxwell D. Kinman, for appellee, CASA

          OPINION

          HENDRICKSON, P.J.

         {¶ 1} The mother of T. W. ("Mother") appeals a decision of the Warren County Court of Common Pleas, Juvenile Division, denying Mother's motion for a six-month extension of temporary custody and granting permanent custody of T.W. to appellee, Warren County Children Services ("WCCS").

         {¶ 2} On February 17, 2016, WCCS filed a complaint alleging neglect, abuse, and dependency. On the same date, the juvenile court conducted an emergency shelter care hearing and placed T.W. in the temporary custody of WCCS. On March 23, 2016, the juvenile court adjudicated T.W. neglected and dependent. On April 28, 2016, following a dispositional hearing, the juvenile court ordered that T.W. remain in the temporary custody of WCCS. WCCS moved for permanent custody on February 14, 2017 and Mother filed a motion to extend temporary custody on March 20, 2017. The juvenile court held a hearing on the motions on May 8, 2017 and heard testimony from the three caseworkers assigned to this case throughout its pendency.

         {¶ 3} Collectively, the testimony revealed that this case began on November 22, 2015 when Mother gave birth to T.W., who tested positive for cocaine. The hospital diagnosed T.W. with failure to thrive in addition to detailing several other medical concerns, including rigid muscles, inability to sit up and support his head, and trouble eating and swallowing. Later in the case, doctors further diagnosed T.W. as suffering from a Chiari malformation of the brain and possibly afflicted with a cancerous lesion in his brain. T.W.'s afflictions have further prevented his development and will require at least weekly medical and therapy appointments moving forward. T.W. will later undergo brain surgery.

         {¶ 4} Mother voluntarily began working with WCCS under an in-home safety plan following T.W.'s birth and developed a case plan for Mother. WCCS later amended this case plan following the dispositional hearing to include the first putative father. WCCS later removed this putative father from the case plan after genetic testing indicated he was not T.W.'s biological father. Mother's case plan included completing drug and alcohol and mental health assessments and following any recommendations therefrom, demonstrating financial stability to WCCS, meeting with WCCS monthly and signing any requested releases, and submitting to random drug screenings.

         {¶ 5} Beginning in January 2016, Mother voluntarily participated in her case plan services by meeting with her caseworker, submitting negative drug screens, and engaging in an inpatient drug and alcohol treatment program at First Step. Mother completed the first phase of the program, but failed to complete the aftercare phase.

         {¶ 6} In February 2016, Mother failed to appear for multiple visits, could not be contacted, and T.W. missed a medical appointment, which collectively, prompted the caseworker to search for Mother. A relative of Mother communicated to the caseworker that Mother and T.W. were in Tennessee with one of Mother's relatives. The Tennessee Department of Children Services located the relative, but not Mother or T.W. The relative informed the Tennessee agency that Mother never left Ohio and was hiding from WCCS. In turn, police executed a search warrant at Mother's last known location in Ohio. Police located and removed T.W. and placed the child in the temporary custody of WCCS, and as discussed above, emergency shelter care, adjudication, and dispositional hearings before the juvenile court followed in the next few months.

         {¶ 7} From February to March 2016, Mother attended an intensive outpatient drug and alcohol program at Solutions. However, she left the program before completing it because of a personal dispute with another program attendee. In April 2016, Mother submitted random drug screens that tested positive for cocaine and marijuana. WCCS referred her to another drug and alcohol program at Talbert House in May 2016. Mother completed the initial assessment and Talbert House recommended standard outpatient weekly drug and alcohol and mental health counseling. Mother completed the drug and alcohol portion of the program, but failed to complete the mental health portion; therefore, Talbert House discharged her from the program. During this period, Mother began disappearing, failed to attend visits, and refused to disclose details of her current residence to WCCS. Mother did not provide drug screens during these disappearances, but did provide two negative screens in July 2016 and one in November 2016

         {¶ 8} In December 2016, Mother tested positive for cocaine. The following month, Mother provided another positive test for cocaine and began another treatment program at Access Counseling. Mother attended a few sessions, but her involvement with the program did not extend into January 2017. On February 15, 2017, Mother gave birth to her second child, who also tested positive for cocaine. WCCS removed Mother's second child from her care and placed the child in a foster home. Shortly thereafter, Mother reengaged in drug and alcohol and mental health counseling. As the case proceeded, WCCS moved T.W. to a second foster home because the original home was unable to meet his long-term medical ...


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