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In re B.D.

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga

November 22, 2017

IN RE: B.D. A Minor Child [Appeal By Mother]

         Civil Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Juvenile Division Case No. AD13916853

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT Patrick S. Lavelle Van Sweringen Arcade

          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 C.C.D.C.F.S.

          For T.D. and K.D. Pamela A. Hawkins

          Guardian ad litem Troy M. Hough

          For Father S.D., pro se

          BEFORE: S. Gallagher, J., Keough, A.J., and Celebrezze, J.

          JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION

          SEAN C. GALLAGHER, JUDGE.

         {¶1} 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.

         {¶2} 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.

         {¶3} 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.

         {¶4} 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.

         {¶5} 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 restrictions.

         {¶6} 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 ...


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