Court of Appeals of Ohio, Twelfth District, Fayette
FROM FAYETTE COUNTY COURT OF COMMON PLEAS JUVENILE DIVISION
Case Nos. AND20160488 thru AND20160494, 17AND0289, and
C. Weade, Fayette County Prosecuting Attorney, Sean M.
Abbott, for appellee, Fayette County Children Services
Kathryn Hapner, for appellant, Mother 1 Steven H. Eckstein,
for appellant, Mother 2
1} Appellants, the mother of S.K., Ch.K., K.K.,
Jo.K., Ca.K., and B.B. ("Mother 1") and the mother
of Ja.K., R.K., and L.K. ("Mother 2"), appeal the
decision of the Fayette County Court of Common Pleas,
Juvenile Division, granting permanent custody of their nine
respective children to appellee, Fayette County Children
Services ("FCCS"). For the reasons outlined below,
we affirm the juvenile court's decision.
2} There are nine children at issue in this case.
Mother 1 is the mother of S.K., born May 1, 2006, Ch.K, born
October 12, 2007, K.K., born December 25, 2009, Jo.K., born
October 3, 2011, Ca.K., born August 27, 2013, and B.B., born
May 15, 2016. Mother 2 is the mother of Ja.K., born June 24,
2016, R.K., born May 20, 2017, and L.K., born May 8, 2018.
With the exception of B.B., the other eight children were all
fathered by the same man ("Father"). Neither Father
nor B.B.'s father is a party to this appeal.
3} The record indicates Mother 1 and Father are
married. Father, however, is now in a relationship with
Mother 2. Although now separated, the record also indicates
Mother 1, Mother 2, and Father had all lived together with
the children in the same home. And, after being evicted from
that home, Mother 1, Mother 2, and Father all moved into a
homeless shelter with the children. Mother 1 now lives with
her boyfriend in a four-bedroom duplex, whereas Mother 2, who
has been diagnosed with depression and anxiety, and Father,
who has been diagnosed as bipolar, live with a disabled
couple in a one-bedroom apartment.
Complaints and the Juvenile Court's Adjudications and
4} On August 30, 2016, FCCS filed six complaints
alleging Mother 1's six children, S.K., Ch.K., K.K.,
Jo.K., Ca.K., and B.B., were neglected and dependent
children. FCCS also filed a complaint alleging Mother 2's
then only child, Ja.K., was a neglected and dependent child.
In support, FCCS alleged it had received reports that the
children were seen "unsupervised around town and begging
for food." Upon contacting Mother 1, Mother 2, and
Father, FCCS alleged Mother 1 and Mother 2 claimed their
respective children were with a "friend." Mother 1
and Mother 2, however, only knew "the person's first
name with no idea of her last name or even the street where
5} FCCS also alleged that Mother 1, Mother 2, and
Father had recently been evicted from Mother 1's home
where they lived with their then seven respective children.
As noted above, upon being evicted, FCCS alleged the entire
family moved into a homeless shelter. However, "the
shelter stated they did not supervise or discipline any of
the children and the shelter removed the family * * * for not
following the rules." Upon being removed from the
homeless shelter, FCCS alleged "the family has moved
from house to house" and that the children went back out
on the streets begging for food.
6} FCCS alleged Mother 2 had since left Ja.K. with
his grandfather. The child's grandfather, however, did
not have any of the necessary supplies to take care of Ja.K.
FCCS also alleged that Ja.K.'s grandfather could not
properly care for the child due to a recent car accident. Due
to the child's appearance, FCCS further alleged that it
was concerned about Ja.K.'s health and well-being in that
he appeared "to be failure to thrive." These
concerns were further exacerbated by the fact Mother 2 only
had one bottle to feed Ja.K, "which was not clean."
FCCS also alleged that while feeding Ja.K., Mother 2
"had to remove objects from the bottle, and [Ja.K.] did
not continue to drink the bottle."
7} FCCS alleged that it had also received reports of
domestic violence between Mother 1, Mother 2, and Father.
FCCS further alleged the children "have received no
medical attention and have not been enrolled in school."
This includes Ja.K. who FCCS alleged Mother 2 had not taken
to see a doctor since his birth. Concluding, FCCS alleged
that Father was reportedly suffering from mental health
issues, whereas Mother 2 "admits she suffers from
post-partum depression." Due to these concerns, FCCS
alleged there was "a present and ongoing threat of
harm" to the children.
8} Upon receiving FCCS's complaints, the
juvenile court granted FCCS's request for emergency
temporary custody of all seven children. Three of the
children were then placed with relatives, whereas the other
four children were placed in foster care. Following a hearing
on the matter, the juvenile court issued an entry detailing
the facts and circumstances that led to the children's
removal. As noted by the juvenile court, this included
concerns from FCCS regarding the parties' subpar living
conditions, homelessness, and the "lack of supervision
of the children." The juvenile court also noted that the
five oldest children all had headlice upon their removal and
that "[t]he four oldest children are school age but had
not been enrolled in school, despite the fact that the school
year had already commenced." The juvenile court further
noted that Mother 1 and Mother 2 had both reported that
Father had anger issues.
9} On September 28, 2016, a guardian ad litem was
appointed for the children. Approximately one month later,
the juvenile court adjudicated all seven children as
dependent. A case plan was then established. The case plan
required each parent to obtain and maintain stable housing,
employment, and verifiable income, as well as complete
parenting classes and any necessary mental health treatment.
The juvenile court thereafter issued a dispositional decision
that awarded temporary custody of the children to FCCS. The
juvenile court's corresponding entry noted that
"[t]he parents have not made much progress on their case
plans." The juvenile court also noted that many of the
children exhibited behavioral issues upon their removal from
their respective parents' care. This includes two of the
children killing a rabbit, as well as numerous instances of
lying and stealing.
10} On May 16, 2017, the juvenile court held a
review hearing. Following this hearing, the juvenile court
issued an entry noting that five of the children were now
placed in foster care, whereas two of the children were
placed with relatives. The juvenile court also noted that the
children's respective parents had completed parenting
classes and that both Father and B.B.'s father were
employed. Mother 1, however, "was working but lost her
job last month." The juvenile court further noted that
Mother 2, who was not working at that time, was then pregnant
with what would become Father's seventh child, R.K.
11} In addition to these findings, the juvenile
court noted that Mother 1, Mother 2, and Father had not yet
completed their required mental health assessments and that
Mother 2 and Father had missed their last two scheduled
visits with the children. The juvenile court also noted in
regard to the possibility of the children being returned to
their respective parents:
The agency does not believe that the children can be returned
home at this time. [Father] has not addressed his mental
health issues. [Mother 2] has not shown that she can provide
for herself. She is the victim of domestic violence from
[Father]. [Mother 1] and [B.B.'s father] each have
12} On May 20, 2017, Mother 2 gave birth to R.K.
Later that day, FCCS filed a complaint alleging R.K. was a
dependent child. In support, FCCS noted that R.K.'s older
brother, Ja.K., was then in its temporary custody and had
been for nearly a year. FCCS also alleged that both Mother 2
and Father had still not completed their required mental
health assessments. FCCS alleged the same was true in regard
to Father's domestic violence classes. FCCS further
alleged that Mother 2 and Father "had no food or
belongings in their home with which to properly care for a
newborn baby" and that they were then "sleeping in
the same hospital bed with [R.K.] in the bed."
13} On May 23, 2017, the juvenile court granted
emergency temporary custody of R.K. to FCCS. Approximately
two weeks later, the juvenile court issued a judgment entry
that addressed its prior emergency order regarding R.K. As
part of this entry, the juvenile court noted that Mother 2
and Father had completed their parenting classes and had
obtained housing. The entry also noted that Father had
obtained employment through a temporary agency. But, as noted
by the juvenile court, Father "ha[d] not been employed
there long enough to demonstrate financial stability."
The juvenile court further noted in regard to Father's
The case plan required [Father] to get a mental health
assessment and follow up on any recommendations. He has
self-reported being diagnosed with schizophrenia and
multi-personality disorder. The two mothers of his children,
and other relatives have reported [Father] to be the
perpetrator of physical and verbal domestic violence.
[Father] has given conflicting accounts of how long he has
gone without taking his mental health medication. He reported
that he was only off his medication for two weeks, that he
sees a doctor * * * and that he gets his medication at
emergency rooms. Mental health reports [note] that [Father]
has been off his medication since 2015. He has not submitted
any documentation that he has had a mental health assessment
or undergone any counseling.
14} On July 6, 2017, the juvenile court adjudicated
R.K. a dependent child. Approximately five weeks later, the
juvenile court issued a dispositional decision that awarded
temporary custody of R.K. to FCCS. The juvenile court also
appointed R.K. with a guardian ad litem. Several months
later, following another review hearing, the juvenile court
issued an entry that noted the parties had stipulated that
temporary custody of all eight of their children should
remain with FCCS "to allow the parents to have more time
to work their case plans."
15} The guardian ad litem submitted a report with
the juvenile court that same day. As part of that report, the
guardian ad litem noted in regard to Mother 1:
One of the mothers, [Mother 1], now has a home with her
boyfriend. They live in a duplex. They want to move the
boyfriend's mother out of the nursing home and into the
other side of the duplex. [Mother 1 ] wants to be the
caregiver for the boyfriend's mother who is morbidly
obese and missing one leg. The boyfriend's mother also
has her own seven page history with the agency. [Mother 1] is
working at Bob Evans and making approximately $100 per week.
When [Mother 1] visits the children, she is responsible for
bringing them dinner. She usually does not provide enough
food for all the children, i.e. one bag of pizza rolls for
[her six] kids.
16} The guardian ad litem also noted in regard to
Mother 2 and Father:
[Father and Mother 2] are still together. They had joined the
traveling fair and moved to Tennessee. They would travel from
Tennessee once a week to attend their visit. They have
returned to Ohio and live in a one-bedroom home with two
other people [Father] refers to as "Aunt and
Uncle." The Aunt has a toilet chair in the middle of the
living room and uses a walker. The Aunt told the worker that
the children can reside there with them and they would sleep
in their bedroom in between the hospital bed. [Father and
Mother 2] work at Kroger stocking shelves. ...