Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga
IN RE: B.D. A Minor Child [Appeal By Mother]
Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas
Juvenile Division Case No. AD13916853
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT Patrick S. Lavelle Van Sweringen
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEES For C.C.D.C.F.S. Michael C.
O'Malley Cuyahoga County Prosecutor
Timothy D. Smanik Cheryl Rice Assistant Prosecuting Attorneys
T.D. and K.D. Pamela A. Hawkins
Guardian ad litem Troy M. Hough
Father S.D., pro se
BEFORE: S. Gallagher, J., Keough, A.J., and Celebrezze, J.
JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION
C. GALLAGHER, JUDGE.
Appellant Mother appeals the juvenile court's decision to
award legal custody of her child, B.D., to the foster
parents, who are the appellees herein. Upon review, we
reverse the decision of the juvenile court that granted legal
custody to the appellees, and we order the termination of
protective supervision and the immediate return of the child
to Mother's legal custody.
On November 20, 2013, the Cuyahoga County Department of
Children and Family Services ("CCDCFS") filed a
complaint alleging B.D. was dependent and requesting a
disposition of temporary custody. A hearing was held, and
B.D., then a newborn infant, was committed to the
pre-adjudicatory emergency temporary custody of CCDCFS.
On January 24, 2014, an adjudicatory hearing was held. Mother
stipulated to certain allegations in the amended complaint,
including, among others, (1) that Mother has three other
children who were adjudicated dependent because of
Mother's lack of parenting skills and domestic violence
between the parents, and which children are in the temporary
custody of a relative; (2) that Mother has mental health
problems that may interfere with her ability to make safe and
adequate choices for B.D.; and (3) that Mother lacks adequate
housing to provide for the child's basic shelter needs.
The juvenile court found B.D. to be a dependent child and
granted temporary custody to CCDCFS. The juvenile court
conducted a number of review hearings at which it continued
temporary custody of B.D. to CCDCFS.
On July 8, 2014, CCDCFS filed a motion to modify temporary
custody to permanent custody. In August 2015, the foster
parents filed a motion to intervene that was granted, and
they also filed a motion for legal custody.
However, on November 5, 2015, CCDCFS filed a motion to
withdraw its earlier motion to modify temporary custody to
permanent custody and a motion to terminate temporary
custody. CCDCFS indicated that Mother "has successfully
completed the case plan and has remedied the risks that
initially caused the child to be removed." CCDCFS
expressed its belief that it would be in the best interest of
the child to be returned to Mother and requested that Mother
be vested with legal custody of the child with no
A hearing was held on the motions, and B.D. was returned to
Mother with protective supervision on March 29, 2016. The
magistrate issued a decision that was adopted by the juvenile
court in a judgment entry filed April 18, 2016. The juvenile
court indicated the motion for permanent custody and the
motion for legal custody were withdrawn and "[t]he
parties are in agreement with the child reunifying with the
[m]other." The juvenile court found that "[t]here
has been significant progress on the case plan by the mother
and substantial progress has been made in alleviating the
cause for the removal of the child from the home." The
juvenile court also found that the father had abandoned the
child. The juvenile court determined that it would be in the
child's best interest to return to Mother's home and
to have continued visitation by the foster parents. The
juvenile court ...