IN RE: T.K. D.W. C.W.
FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF
SUMMIT, OHIO CASE Nos. DN 16-02-132 DN 16-02-133 DN 16-02-134
R. ROBINSON, Attorney at Law, for Appellant.
BEVAN WALSH, Prosecuting Attorney, and HEAVEN DIMARTINO,
Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for Appellee.
MICHELLE TOMER, Guardian ad Litem.
DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY
JENNIFER HENSAL, Presiding Judge.
Appellant Mother appeals the judgment of the Summit County
Court of Common Pleas, Juvenile Division, that terminated her
parental rights to her minor children and placed the children
in the permanent custody of Summit County Children Services
Board ("CSB"). This Court affirms.
Mother is the biological mother of T.K. (d.o.b. 11/17/05),
D.W. (d.o.b. 2/9/09), and C.W. (d.o.b. 9/6/10). Father was
the biological father of D.W. and C.W. Paternity was never
established for T.K. Mother and Father were married, but
later divorced. Either as a result of the parents'
divorce or a dependency, neglect, abuse case in Stark County
involving the children, Father became the legal custodian of
all three children. Father remarried and the three children
lived with him, Stepmother, and her two children. In November
2015, Father was incarcerated. As Stepmother had initiated
divorce proceedings against Father, she contacted CSB to
inform them that she could no longer care for Father's
three children. At that time, Mother had not had any contact
with the children for over three years. In addition, Mother
recently had an infant removed from her custody by Tuscarawas
County Children Services ("TCCS"). CSB filed
complaints alleging that T.K., D.W., and C.W. were dependent
Both Mother and Father waived their rights to an adjudicatory
hearing, and the children were adjudicated dependent. After
the dispositional hearing, the children were placed in the
temporary custody of CSB, and the agency's proposed case
plan was adopted as the order of the court. The children were
maintained in the temporary custody of the agency after each
review hearing. Almost a year after the children were removed
from Father's custody, CSB filed a motion for permanent
custody. As grounds, the agency alleged that the children
could not be placed with either parent within a reasonable
time or should not be placed with either parent, that the
children had been abandoned by Mother, and that an award of
permanent custody was in the children's best interest.
Approximately three weeks after CSB filed its motion, Father
On the day of the scheduled permanent custody hearing, Mother
failed to appear. Mother's attorney moved for a
continuance based on Mother's failure to maintain contact
with her, as well as newly discovered information. The
juvenile court continued the permanent custody hearing. In
the interim, Mother moved for legal custody, or, in the
alternative, a six-month extension of temporary custody. On
the second scheduled date for the permanent custody hearing,
Mother again failed to appear. However, Mother's counsel
asserted that she had been in "consistent contact"
with Mother and was ready to represent her at the hearing.
After the conclusion of the permanent custody hearing, the
juvenile court granted CSB's motion for permanent custody
and terminated Mother's parental rights to T.K., D.W.,
and C.W. Mother filed a timely appeal in which she raises one
assignment of error for review.
TRIAL COURT'S DECISION GRANTING THE MOTION FOR PERMANENT
CUSTODY WAS AGAINST THE MANIFEST WEIGHT OF THE EVIDENCE.
Mother argues that the juvenile court's award of
permanent custody was against the manifest weight of ...