IN RE: A.S. I.S. J.S. A.S.
FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF
SUMMIT, OHIO CASE Nos. DN 16-02-0107, DN 16-02-0108, DN
16-02-0109, DN 16-02-0110
PALUMBO, Attorney at Law, for Appellant.
BEVAN WALSH, Prosecuting Attorney, and RICHARD S. KASAY,
Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for Appellee.
DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY
A. SCHAFER JUDGE.
Appellant-Father appeals the judgment of the Summit County
Court of Common Pleas, Juvenile Division, that terminated his
parental rights to his minor children A.S., IS., J.S., and
Am.S., and placed the children in the permanent custody of
Summit County Children Services Board ("CSB"). This
Father is the established biological father of A.S. (d.o.b.
5/30/09), IS. (d.o.b. 10/27/12), J.S. (d.o.b. 10/31/13), and
Am.S. (d.o.b. 1/27/16). The biological mother of all four
children abandoned the children and is not a party to this
appeal. Mother and Father have never been married but have
apparently cohabited as domestic partners. There is a history
of domestic violence between the parents, and Father was on
probation for third degree felony domestic violence against
Mother during the proceedings. He was also subject to a
temporary protection order and prohibited from having any
contact with Mother.
The family has had prior involvement with CSB. A.S. was twice
before removed from her parents' care. She was
adjudicated dependent in 2009, and dependent and neglected in
2010. In both prior cases, the child was reunified with her
parents. CSB again became involved with the family in late
2015, after receiving an intake report after the police
investigated another domestic violence incident between
Mother and Father. When the police arrived, they found
evidence of drugs in the home. Father was arrested for
violating the temporary protection order issued in favor of
CSB began to work informally with the family and instituted a
voluntary case plan to provide for the safety, stability, and
security of the children. When neither parent was able to
demonstrate the ability to provide the necessary care to
maintain the children in a safe, stable, and secure
environment, the agency filed complaints alleging all four
children to be dependent. After an adjudicatory hearing, the
juvenile court found the children to be dependent and placed
them in the temporary custody of CSB. The juvenile court
adopted the agency's case plan as the order of the court.
At first, Mother attempted to comply with case plan
objectives, but she quickly ceased any involvement in the
case. According to the magistrate's findings at periodic
review hearings, Father's case plan compliance was
Nine months after the initiation of these cases, CSB filed a
motion for permanent custody. The agency alleged that the
first prong of the permanent custody test was satisfied
because (1) Mother abandoned the children pursuant to R.C.
2151.414(B)(1)(b); and (2) A.S. was adjudicated an abused,
neglected, or dependent child on three separate occasions;
and IS., J.S., and Am.S. were removed from the custody of
parents where another child of the parents (A.S.) had
previously been adjudicated abused, neglected, or dependent
on three separate occasions pursuant to R.C.
2151.414(B)(1)(e). The agency further alleged that permanent
custody was in the best interest of the children. Almost six
months later, Father filed a competing motion for legal
custody, or alternatively, for a six-month extension of
The children had been out of the parents' care for almost
18 months, when the juvenile court held the final
dispositional hearing. The trial court granted CSB's
motion for permanent custody and terminated Mother's and
Father's parental rights. Father filed a timely appeal in
which he raises one assignment of error for review.
THE TRIAL COURT'S DECISION TO GRANT CSB'S MOTION FOR
PERMANENT CUSTODY WHILE DENYING FATHER'S MOTION FOR A
SIX-MONTH EXTENSION IS NOT SUPPORTED BY CLEAR AND CONVINCING
EVIDENCE AND IS AGAINST THE MANIFEST WEIGHT OF THE EVIDENCE.
Father argues that the juvenile court's award of
permanent custody to CSB, in lieu of a six-month extension of
temporary custody, was against the ...