Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fourth District, Scioto
IN THE MATTER OF: Z.M. AND K.B. ADJUDGED NEGLECTED/ DEPENDENT CHILDREN
Matthew F. Loesch, Portsmouth, Ohio, for Appellant.
M. Huddleston, New Boston, Ohio, for Appellee.
DECISION AND JUDGMENT ENTRY
P. Smith, Presiding Judge.
K.B., the children's biological mother, appeals the trial
court's judgment that granted Scioto County Children
Services permanent custody of her two children: four-year-old
K.B. and eight-year-old Z.M. The mother raises the following
assignment of error:
"1. The Trial Court's award of permanent custody of
[Z.M.] and [K.B.] to the Scioto County Children Services was
against the manifest weight and sufficiency of the
In late April 2016, the agency received a report that the
mother was discovered passed out and unresponsive inside a
parked car. The report further indicated that both children
were inside the car at the time and that they appeared to
have been there for several hours. Emergency medical
personnel responded, administered Narcan to the mother, and
took her to the emergency room. The mother tested positive
for marijuana, cocaine, heroin and amphetamines.
The agency requested an ex-parte order placing the children
in its temporary custody and also filed complaints that
alleged the children were neglected and dependent. The agency
additionally requested the court to grant it temporary
custody of the children. The court subsequently granted the
agency's request for an ex-parte emergency custody order.
A few months later, the court adjudicated the children
neglected and dependent and placed the children in the
agency's temporary custody. Approximately one year later,
the agency filed permanent custody motions.
On April 12, 2018, the court held a hearing to consider the
agency's permanent custody motions. At the hearing,
caseworker Renee Ginn stated that the agency developed a case
plan for the family. Ginn explained that the case plan
required the mother to (1) complete a drug and alcohol
assessment and follow any treatment recommendations, (2)
complete parenting classes, and (3) obtain adequate housing.
Ginn reported that the mother has not completed a drug and
alcohol treatment program, despite three attempts. Ginn
related that the mother entered three separate treatment
programs throughout the pendency of the case but did not
successfully complete any of the programs. Ginn testified
that although the mother appeared to have adequate housing,
she failed to complete a parenting class.
Ginn further related that the mother did not have consistent
contact with the children. Ginn stated that between July 2016
through September 25, 2017, the mother did not have any
contact with the children. Ginn explained that the mother had
been in jail between April 2017 and September 2017. She
indicated that the mother contacted the agency upon her
September 2017 release from jail. Ginn testified that the
mother visited the children between September 2017 and
November 2017, that she last visited the children in November
2017 and has not had any contact with the agency since that
Ginn stated that the father has had little involvement in the
case and that he has not successfully completed the case
Ginn testified that the children have been in the
agency's temporary custody since April 28, 2016. Ginn
related that between April 2016 and May 2017, the agency
placed the children in several different homes. Ginn stated
that in early June 2017, the children entered their current
foster home. Ginn indicated that the foster family would like
to adopt the children.
After a five-day recess, the hearing resumed on April 17,
2018, with Ginn's continued testimony. She testified that
the agency learned that on April 11, 2018, the mother entered
a ninety-day treatment program. This was the day before the
commencement of the permanent custody hearing.
The mother testified that she currently lives in a treatment
facility but that she maintains a permanent residence to
which she will return after completing the treatment program.
The mother admitted that she has struggled with drug abuse
and that she has been in and out of prison and jail.
The mother requested the court to give her another chance to
regain custody of her children. She explained that
"before" she was not "ready to have [her]
kids" and that she did not believe that it was in their
best interest to be with her. The mother stated that she now
believes that she can adequately care for and provide for the
children. She explained that she "really feel[s] like
God has removed the desire for [her] to use [drugs]."
On October 19, 2018, the trial court granted the agency
permanent custody of the children. The court found that the
children have been in appellee's temporary custody for
twelve or more months of a consecutive twenty-two-month
period and that placing the children in the agency's
permanent custody was in their best interest.
With respect to the children's interactions and
interrelationships, the court found that the children's
relationship with the mother is "tenuous." The
court observed that the mother visited with the children,
albeit sporadically. The court remarked that the mother had
"extended periods of time" when she did not have
any contact with the children or the agency. The court
additionally noted that the mother has not completed her case
plan goals and struggled to consistently engage in drug and
alcohol treatment. The court found that the children's
relationship with their father is non-existent. The court
commented that the children are doing well in their current
foster placement and that the foster family would like to
adopt the children.
The court additionally found that the children cannot achieve
a legally secure permanent placement without granting the
agency permanent custody of the children. The court ...