Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eleventh District, Ashtabula
Appeal from the Ashtabula County Court of Common Pleas,
Juvenile Division, Case No. 2016 JC 00084.
Nicholas A. Iarocci, Ashtabula County Prosecutor, and Shelley
M. Pratt, Assistant Prosecutor, Ashtabula County Courthouse,
and Margaret A. Draper, Assistant Prosecutor, Ashtabula
County Children Services Board, (For Appellee, Ashtabula
County Children Services Board).
M. Kowalksi, (For Appellant, Joshua Javis).
Noon Miller, Law Offices of Eileen Noon Miller, LLC,
(Guardian ad Litem).
V. GRENDELL, J.
Appellant, Joshua Javis, appeals the decision of the
Ashtabula County Court of Common Pleas, Juvenile Division,
granting appellee, Ashtabula County Children Services
Board's, motion for permanent custody. The issue before
this court is whether a parent may be found to have abandoned
his child when he has failed to visit or maintain contact
with the child for over ninety days due to repeated
hospitalizations for mental illness and/or incarcerations in
the county jail. For the following reasons, we affirm the
decision of the court below.
On April 5, 2016, when H.J. was six days old, the juvenile
court granted Ashtabula County Children Services Board ex
parte emergency temporary custody of the child.
On April 6, 2016, the Children Services Board filed a
Verified Complaint for Temporary Custody on the grounds of
neglect, specifically that her mother, Desiree Davis,
"tested positive for marijuana at the [time of her]
birth"; "all three of [H.J.'s] siblings are
currently in the Temporary Custody of ACCSB"; and
"Desiree is currently homeless and there are concerns of
domestic violence between Desiree and Joshua Javis (alleged
On the same day: "Mother stipulated to a finding of
Probable Cause, and stipulated that paternity has not been
established for the child and that the alleged father has not
established any relationship with the child."
On May 2, 2016, H.J. was adjudicated a dependent child
pursuant to R.C. 2151.04(C).
On June 1, 2016, a dispositional hearing was held. The
juvenile court ordered H.J. to continue in the temporary
custody of the Children Services Board. It was noted that
Javis had "failed to appear and had failed to submit to
On January 10, 2017, the Children Services Board filed a
Motion Requesting Modification of Temporary Custody to
On April 18, 2017, the Guardian ad Litem Report was filed.
On August 8, 2017, the permanent custody hearing was held.
On August 17, 2017, the juvenile court granted the Children
Services Board's Motion for Permanent Custody. The court
made the following relevant findings:
At the time of the child's birth [March 31, 2016], Mother
and Father had one other child, J., who was in the Temporary
Custody of ACCSB. The child's two half-siblings were also
in the Temporary Custody of the agency as of March 31, 2016.
Father was present at the child's birth. Although he had
been arrested two days prior to her birth, Father had been
released on bond prior to the delivery. Mother was homeless
at that time, and no evidence was presented that Father had a
stable residence for the child.
Mother, who had been required to address drug and alcohol
concerns in the siblings' existing case, tested positive
for marijuana when this child was born.
In addition to the drug and alcohol treatment and housing
issues addressed in the siblings' case plan for Mother,
Mother was also required to address her mental health needs
and complete a parenting class. She had not done so by March
Father was in and out of hospitals, and had been incarcerated
multiple times during this case. Father's mental health
issues included bipolar disorder ...