IN RE: A.E. A.H. R.H.
FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF
LORAIN, OHIO CASE Nos. 16JC4769116JC47692 16JC47693
E. FERGUSON, Attorney at Law, for Appellant.
P. WILL, Prosecuting Attorney, and EMILY W. KIRSCH, Assistant
Prosecuting Attorney, for Appellee.
JEANETTE ROBINSON, Guardian ad Litem.
DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY
J. CARR, JUDGE.
Appellant, D.W. ("Mother"), appeals from a judgment
of the Lorain County Court of Common Pleas, Juvenile
Division, that placed her three minor children in the legal
custody of relatives. This Court affirms in part, reverses in
part, and remands the matter for clarification about
Mother's visitation with one of the children.
Mother is the biological mother of A.E., born September 28,
2010; A.H, born September 25, 2012; and R.H., born September
12, 2013. At the time Lorain County Children Services
("LCCS") became involved with this family, the
children were living with Mother. The agency received a
referral because, during a visit between all three children
and the father of A.H. and R.H. ("Father H."), a
family member observed bruises and raised welts on the
buttocks of A.E. A further investigation by LCCS revealed
that Mother had used excessive physical discipline on the
children on multiple occasions.
Mother would also later admit that she had been diagnosed
with bipolar disorder as a teenager and had been
involuntarily hospitalized for psychiatric treatment on
several occasions because she did not consistently engage in
mental health treatment. LCCS was also concerned that Mother
had not been meeting the children's basic needs.
On January 29, 2016, LCCS filed complaints alleging that A.E.
was an abused child and that all three children were
neglected and dependent. The children were later adjudicated
accordingly and placed in the temporary custody of LCCS.
Later, A.E. was placed in the temporary custody of her
paternal grandmother ("Grandmother") and A.H. and
R.H. were placed in the temporary custody of Father H., with
all three children under the protective supervision of LCCS.
The case plan goals for Mother focused on her addressing her
mental health problems and her ability to appropriately meet
her children's daily needs. Among other things, Mother
was required to attend parenting classes and obtain both
psychological and psychiatric assessments and follow any
treatment recommendations. Mother attended parenting classes
but did not demonstrate that she could implement the skills
that she had been taught. Moreover, she never obtained a
psychological or psychiatric assessment. She did engage in
some counseling but continued to exhibit inappropriate
behavior around her children and others.
Ultimately, Mother moved to have the children returned to her
legal custody. Because the children were doing well in the
homes of their respective relative caregivers, LCCS
alternatively moved to have A.E. placed in the legal custody
of Grandmother and to have A.H. and R.H. placed in the legal
custody of Father H. A dispositional hearing was held before
On August 7, 2017, the magistrate filed a decision that A.E.
be placed in the legal custody of Grandmother and that A.H.
and R.H. be placed in the legal custody of Father H. The
trial court adopted the decision and independently entered
judgment the same day.
On August 29, 2017, Mother's trial counsel filed
objections to the magistrate's decision. LCCS later moved
to dismiss Mother's objections because they were
untimely. See Juv.R. 40(D)(3)(b)(i). The trial court