In the Matter of: S.S., S.G. Appellant In the Matter of: K.N. et al., S.G. Appellant.
APPEALS from the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas,
Division of Domestic Relations, Juvenile Branch C.P.C. Nos.
T. Ryerson, for appellant.
J. McClaren, for appellee Franklin County Children Services.
1} S.G. ("mother"), appellant, appeals the
judgment of the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas,
Division of Domestic Relations, Juvenile Branch, in which the
court granted the motions of Franklin County Children
Services ("FCCS"), appellee, for permanent court
commitment ("PCC") with regard to three sons, S.S.,
Ca.N., and C.N., Jr., and one daughter, K.N. (collectively
2} Mother and father, Ch.N. (collectively "the
parents"), are the parents of all four children. On
October 29, 2015, FCCS filed two complaints alleging the
children were dependent, the parents had drug issues, and the
children failed to attend school regularly. In January 2016,
the trial court adjudicated the children dependent. FCCS was
awarded temporary court commitment.
3} On June 29, 2016, FCCS filed a motion for PCC in
each case. Based upon a conflict between the recommendation
of the children's guardian ad litem ("GAL") and
the wishes of the children, the GAL became attorney for the
children, and the court appointed a new GAL.
4} The GAL filed reports on March 13, 2017,
recommending that PCC be granted to FCCS. On April 21, 2017,
FCCS refiled their motions for PCC alleging the children had
been in the custody of FCCS for 12 months of a consecutive
5} On July 9, 2017, the GAL filed a report in each
case, again recommending PCC be granted to FCCS. On the date
of trial, July 10 2017, counsel for mother requested a
one-day continuance because mother was out of town but would
be traveling home that day, and the GAL did not comply with
Sup.R. 48(F) and Loc.Juv.R. 4(D) of the Court of Common Pleas
of Franklin County, Juvenile Branch, by filing her reports
less than seven days prior to the trial date. The trial court
granted the continuance until the next day to allow for
mother's appearance at trial.
6} Trial commenced on July 11, 2017. Father was
present, but mother did not appear. Mother's counsel did
not ask for a continuance again based on the late filing of
the GAL reports. Testimony was adduced and evidence
presented, the details of which are not germane to the issues
presently on appeal. On August 25, 2017, the trial court
granted FCCS's motions for PCC. Mother appeals the trial
court's judgment, asserting the following assignment of
The Court below erred in granting the Motion for Franklin
County Children Services (FCCS) for Permanent Custody, due to
the fact that the case should have been continued or the
testimony of the Guardian ad Litem stricken because of the
failure of the Guardian ad Litem to comply with the terms of
Superintendence Rule 48 and Local Court Rule 4.
7} Mother argues in her assignment of error the
trial court erred when it did not continue the trial or
strike the GAL's testimony because the GAL did not comply
with Sup.R. 48(F) and Loc.Juv.R. 4(D) when she filed her
report in each case less than seven days prior to the trial
date. Sup.R. 48(F) provides:
Reports of guardians ad litem. A guardian ad litem shall
prepare a written final report, including recommendations to
the court, within the times set forth in this division. * * *
In addition, the following provisions shall apply to guardian
ad litem reports in the ...