Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fifth District, Fairfield
from the Fairfield County Court of Common Pleas, Juvenile
Division, Case No. 2017 AB 0028
Appellee State of Ohio R. KYLE WITT FAIRFIELD COUNTY
PROSECUTOR GENYLYNN COSGROVE, SARAH RAHTER
Appellant Rachel Denman JAMES E. YOUNG, For Appellant S.G.
JUDGES: Hon. William B. Hoffman, P.J Hon. Patricia A.
Delaney, J. Hon. Earle E. Wise, Jr., J.
Appellants S.G. (Case No. 19-CA-05) and R.D. (hereinafter
"Mother," Case No. 19-CA-07), appeal the judgment
entered by the Fairfield Common Pleas Court, Juvenile
Division, awarding permanent custody of S.G. to Appellee
Fairfield County Child Protective Services (hereinafter
OF THE FACTS AND CASE
S.G. was born on June 10, 2005. FCCPS became involved with
Mother's family in September 2016, when notified
S.G.'s sibling was not attending school. In October,
2016, FCCPS received a report S.G.'s sibling had access
to marijuana and other illegal substances in Mother's
home. Mother's home was condemned during this time
period, and S.G. and his three siblings went to live with
Mother's parents. After Mother was released from jail,
where she served a sentence based on her daughter's
truancy, she moved in with her boyfriend while the children
continued to reside with her parents. Mother agreed to a
voluntary case plan to address housing, employment, mental
health, substance abuse, parenting, and visitation.
Mother did not make progress on the case plan, and FCCPS
filed a complaint alleging S.G. was dependent and neglected
on February 24, 2017. A shelter care hearing was held on
March 31, 2017, and temporary custody was granted to
Mother's parents, with protective supervision to FCCPS.
By agreed entry at the May 9, 2017 hearing on adjudication
and disposition, temporary custody was granted to
Mother's parents, with protective supervision to FCCPS.
On December 19, 2017, FCCPS filed a motion for legal custody
of S.G. and his two non-emancipated siblings to be granted to
Mother's parents. Subsequently, due to an increasing
level of conflict between S.G. and his grandfather,
Mother's parents were unable to maintain S.G. in their
home. They signed a voluntary agreement of care placing S.G.
with FCCPS in March, 2018. By agreed entry, FCCPS was given
temporary custody of S.G. on August 2, 2018. FCCPS filed a
motion for permanent custody of S.G. on September 17, 2018.
The case proceeded to an evidentiary hearing on the motion on
January 4, 2019.
The evidence at trial demonstrated Mother's case plan
required her to address her lack of housing stability. She
was referred to metro housing, but did not follow through
with the referral. She lived with her boyfriend for a period
of time, then moved in with her parents, opting to live in a
tent on their property. Because S.G. is not welcome in his
grandparents' home, Mother is unable to provide housing
As to the employment component of her case plan, Mother was
unemployed from 2015, until June of 2018. From June through
August of 2018, she worked at the Baymont Hotel. In September
or October of 2018, she got a job at McDonald's. However,
she makes $9.55 per hour, and concedes she cannot support
S.G. on her salary. Despite the encouragement of her
caseworker, she has not sought better employment.
FCCPS wanted Mother to submit to a mental health assessment.
She only briefly complied with this component, and was
terminated from counseling for noncompliance. She did not
follow through with a referral to Ohio Guidestone.
The case plan required Mother to submit to an assessment for
alcohol and/or drug concerns and follow all recommendations,
as well as demonstrate sobriety through screening. Her
participation in substance abuse services was not consistent.
Mother admits she has a drug problem, and takes suboxone
daily despite the fact she no longer has a prescription. She
was discharged from treatment at The Recovery Center in
September 2018, after missing appointments, and referred by
FCCPS to Ohio Guidestone to restart treatment. She did not
follow through with the referral. Her history of compliance
with screening was inconsistent. She completed 40 calls,
missed 20 calls, had 7 calls outside the window of time,
missed 11 screens, and had 4 screens indicating substance
FCCPS also wanted Mother to pursue parenting skill
development. She indicated she had taken parenting classes at
some point in the past, but did not comply with this portion
of the case plan.
Because of Mother's lack of housing independent from her
parents, her ability to visit S.G. was limited. Although
initially the grandfather was willing to supervise
visitation, due to S.G.'s behavior grandfather was no
longer willing to have S.G. in his home. Mother sometimes
visited with S.G. at the home of his paternal grandmother.
S.G.'s father could not be located by FCCPS and did not
participate in the case.
S.G. chose not to be present in the courtroom for the
permanent custody hearing. However, he told his attorney he
desired to maintain contact with Mother. The guardian ad
litem testified permanent custody was in the best interest of
S.G. because he deserved a legally secure placement.
The trial court found pursuant to R.C. 2151.414(B)(1)(a),
S.G. could not be placed with Mother within a reasonable
period of time. In making this determination, the court found
pursuant to R.C. 2151.414(E)(1) Mother had failed to
substantially remedy the conditions causing S.G. to be placed
outside the home. The court found Mother's chemical
dependency made her unable to provide an adequate permanent
home at the present time and within a year after the hearing
(R.C. 2151.414(E)(2)). The court found Mother's lack of
vigilance in obtaining housing demonstrated an unwillingness
to provide an adequate permanent home for S.G. (R.C.
2151.414(E)(4)). Pursuant to R.C. 2151.414(E)(14), the court
found Mother was unwilling to provide shelter for the child
because she was waiting for her father to change his mind
about allowing S.G. in his home rather than developing a plan
to obtain housing so S.G. could reside with her. The court
also considered Mother's admissions at the permanent
custody hearing she could not provide for the child right
now, she understood she could not take him home at this time,
she was not doing anything to ...