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In re B.S.

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fifth District, Holmes

February 14, 2018

IN THE MATTER OF: B.S.

         Appeal from the Holmes County Court of Common Pleas, Probate and Juvenile Division Case No. 14N198

          For Plaintiff-Appellee: SEAN WARNER

          For Defendants-Appellants: DAVID M. HUNTER MONICA L. MIYASHITA Attorney for Opal Stevens

          Hon. W. Scott Gwin, P.J. Hon. William B. Hoffman, J. Hon. Patricia A. Delaney, J.

          OPINION

          DELANEY, J.

         {¶1} Defendant-appellant Thomas Miller ("Father") appeals from the September 22, 2017 Judgment Entries of the Holmes County Court of Common Pleas, Probate and Juvenile Division, granting appellee Holmes County Department of Job and Family Services, Children Services Division ("Agency") permanent custody of his son B.S.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         {¶2} Father and Mother have one child together, B.S.[1] At the time this case arose, Mother and Father lived with B.S. and his siblings I.S. and John Doe in Holmes County, Ohio.

         {¶3} On November 23, 2014, the Agency received a report that Mother threw a sippy cup at B.S., yelled at him, and threatened to "cut his hands off" if he did not behave. On December 8, 2014, the Agency filed a complaint alleging B.S. to be a neglected and abused child.

         {¶4} B.S. and I.S. were found to be neglected as to Mother on March 3, 2015 and B.S. was found to be neglected as to Father on the same date.

         {¶5} In January 2015, a case plan was adopted and Father was required to complete parenting classes and a psychological evaluation. He was later required to complete a domestic violence assessment and to attend a batterers' intervention program. Father was required to complete individual counseling and to maintain housing and employment.

         {¶6} Father completed parenting classes at Anazao Community Partners.

         {¶7} Father had supervised visitation with B.S., which successfully progressed to more frequent unsupervised visitation. B.S. was found to be bonded with Father; he enjoyed visitation with Father but also looked forward to returning to the home of his foster parents. During the unsupervised visitation, a mark appeared on B.S.' chest which was concerning to the Agency. Father's visits were again supervised, and then suspended altogether when the domestic violence allegation arose.

         {¶8} Father's psychological evaluation established, e.g., that he has an I.Q. of 73. The Agency determined, as evidenced by the mark on B.S., that Father had a limited ability to retain what he learned while completing case plan services. He was not able to reduce the risk to B.S. because although he did everything he was assigned to do, he couldn't process the information and apply it to prevent abuse to B.S.

         {¶9} B.S. exhibited behavioral issues and was assessed for trauma. It was determined that he has been a victim of and a witness to domestic violence perpetrated by Father and Mother.

         {¶10} I.S. and B.S. were in the temporary custody of the Agency and placed with the same foster family for 21 months when the Agency moved for permanent custody of both siblings on September 15, 2016. The basis of the motion for permanent custody was the fact that the children were in the custody of the Agency for more than 12 months of a consecutive 22-month period.

         {¶11} An evidentiary hearing was held in late June, 2017. On September 22, 2017, the trial court awarded permanent ...


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