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In re G.A.

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Ninth District, Summit

November 15, 2017

IN RE: G.A. W.A.

         APPEAL FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF SUMMIT, OHIO CASE Nos. DN 15-02-109, DN 15-02-110

          ANGELA M. KILLE, Attorney at Law, for Appellant.

          DENISE E. FERGUSON, Attorney at Law, for Appellant.

          SHERRI BEVAN WALSH, Prosecuting Attorney, and RICHARD S. KASAY, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for Appellee.

          JOSEPH KERNAN, Guardian ad Litem.

          DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY

          JENNIFER HENSAL Presiding, Judge.

         {¶1} Appellants, E.A. ("Mother) and J.J. ("Father"), appeal from a judgment of the Summit County Court of Common Pleas, Juvenile Division, that terminated their parental rights and placed two minor children in the permanent custody of Summit County Children Services Board ("CSB"). This Court affirms.

         I.

         {¶2} Mother is the biological mother of G.A., born May 24, 2013; and W.A., born September 2, 2014. Mother has other children who are not parties to this appeal. Father is the biological father of only W.A., but has always thought of G.A. as his own child because he began a relationship with Mother while she was pregnant with G.A. The father of G.A. has not been involved in the child's life and did not participate in these proceedings.

          {¶3} Mother's parental rights to an older child were terminated in Cuyahoga County in 2013. That child was placed in the permanent custody of the agency because, among other reasons, Mother failed to consistently address her serious mental health and drug problems and repeatedly lost contact with the agency and her child.

         {¶4} Just before this case began, Mother temporarily relocated to Summit County and was again struggling with drug problems. On February 20, 2015, Akron Police removed G.A. and W.A. from Mother's custody pursuant to Juv.R. 6. At that time, Mother was arrested and incarcerated on drug charges; the children were with a family that had an open case with CSB and was not permitted to take other children into their home; and CSB had been unable to find a relative to care for the children. The record includes contradictory facts about Father's whereabouts at that time, but it was not disputed that he lacked the ability to provide the children with a suitable home.

         {¶5} CSB filed complaints, alleging that both children were dependent. The trial court later adjudicated them dependent and placed them in the temporary custody of CSB. By that time, Mother was no longer incarcerated but Father was. Father was convicted after an incident of domestic violence against Mother. Mother sustained numerous physical injuries, including black eyes, a broken wrist, and a wound behind her ear that required sutures. Because Father was sentenced to an 18-month term of incarceration, he remained incarcerated throughout most of this case.

         {¶6} Shortly after this case began, Mother moved back to Cuyahoga County and later gave birth to two more children there. Cuyahoga County Department of Children and Family Services filed dependency cases and received temporary custody of those children. The case plan in Cuyahoga County was similar to the case plan in this case, and the caseworkers from the two counties worked together to coordinate Mother's services and monitor her case plan progress.

         {¶7} Although both caseworkers encouraged Mother to work on the reunification goals of the case plans, Mother repeatedly tested positive for drugs, never completed substance abuse treatment, refused to engage in any mental health treatment, did not obtain housing, and did not maintain consistent contact with CSB, her children, or the ...


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