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In re D.A.W.

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eleventh District, Ashtabula

July 1, 2019

IN THE MATTER OF: D.A.W. AND A.W.

          Civil Appeals from the Ashtabula County Court of Common Pleas, Juvenile Division, Case Nos. 2017 JC 00076 and 2016 JC 00270.

          Nicholas A. Iarocci, Ashtabula County Prosecutor, and Shelley M. Pratt, Assistant Prosecutor, Ashtabula County Courthouse, and Margaret A. Draper, Assistant Prosecutor, (For Plaintiff-Appellee, Ashtabula County Children Services Board).

          David E. Koerner, Law Office of David E. Koerner, (For Defendant-Appellant, David Wetherbee).

          Ariana E Tarighati, Law Offices of Ariana E. Tarighati, (Guardian ad Litem).

          OPINION

          MATT LYNCH, J.

         {¶1} Appellant, David Wetherbee, appeals the judgment of the Ashtabula County Court of Common Pleas, Juvenile Division, granting appellee, Ashtabula County Children Services Board's, motion for permanent custody of the minor children, A.W. and D.W., and thereby terminating his parental rights. For the following reasons, we affirm the decision of the court below.

         {¶2} On November 30, 2016, A.W. (dob 01/08/16) was placed into the temporary custody of Ashtabula Children Services upon its request for ex parte emergency temporary custody.

         {¶3} On February 2, 2017, an adjudicatory hearing was held at which Wetherbee failed to appear. The juvenile court noted: "ACCSB became involved on November 30, 2016 when Mother [Ashley Lavin] appeared with the child in the Ashtabula County Court of Common Pleas before the honorable Judge Harris. Mother was sentenced to prison and no person was available to care for the child. David Wetherbee is alleged to be the Father, but there is no known compliance with paternity testing ordered on December 1, 2016." The court found A.W. to be a dependent child.

         {¶4} On February 28, 2017, a disposition hearing was held at which Wetherbee failed to appear. The juvenile court made the following findings:

The child is doing well in a placement with a paternal relative. Father resides with a paternal aunt. He has tested positive for methamphetamine by hair (30, 60, 90 days) and THC by urine on February 7, 2017. Father has reported part-time employment at Crow's Nest (unconfirmed).
Mother remains incarcerated through March 4, 2017. Mother is pregnant with a due date of March 27, 2017. Upon her release from prison, Mother must address her mental health and substance issues and establish stability.
Paternity testing was completed but the results of paternity testing [are] not known at this time.

         The court ruled that "the child is continued in the Temporary Custody of Ashtabula County Children Services Board."

         {¶5} On April 20, 2017, D.W. (dob 03/14/17) was placed into the temporary custody of Ashtabula Children Services upon its request for ex parte emergency temporary custody.

         {¶6} On June 20, 2017, an adjudicatory hearing was held at which Wetherbee failed to appear. The juvenile court found D.W. to be a dependent and abused child on the grounds that he "tested positive for opiates at birth"; "suffered from withdrawal symptoms, and was hospitalized at Rainbows, [sic] Babies and Children's Hospital"; and "both parents have been uncooperative with ACCSB."

         {¶7} On November 21, 2017, an annual review hearing was held in A.W.'s case combined with a semi-annual review hearing in D.W.'s case at which Wetherbee failed to appear. The juvenile court made the following findings:

Father established paternity of [A.W.] * * *
The children are doing well in a placement with a paternal relative, Kimberly Schick, in Pennsylvania.
The parents previously admitted to use of heroin. Mother's May 2017 drug test was positive for morphine. Father's May 2017 drug test was positive for morphine, codeine, cocaine, methamphetamine, and THC.
Father was in Meridian in Youngstown, Ohio for a 90 day residential treatment program but left after one week. He thereafter stayed with family in Cleveland. Father is in the ...

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