Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga
IN RE: B.P., ET AL. Minor Children Appeal by C.P. and L.P.
Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas
Juvenile Division Case Nos. AD17906533 and AD17906950
Michael E. Stinn, for appellant C.P.
Gregory T. Stralka, for appellant L.P.
Michael C. O'Malley, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor, Michael
F. Kulcsar, Michelle A. Myers, and Cheryl Rice, Assistant
Prosecuting Attorneys, for appellee.
JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION
C. GALLAGHER, PRESIDING JUDGE.
1} Appellants L.P. ("Mother") and C.P.
("Father") each have appealed the separate
judgments of the Juvenile Division of the Cuyahoga County
Court of Common Pleas that terminated their parental rights
and granted permanent custody of each of the children B.P.
and R.P. to the Cuyahoga County Division of Children and
Family Services ("CCDCFS"). This court consolidated
the appeals for hearing and disposition, and both parties
have filed their own briefs. Upon review of the entire
matter, we affirm both judgments.
2} B.P. (d.o.b. 6/2/16) and R.P. (d.o.b. 5/1/17) are
children of Mother and Father. On October 15 2016, B.P. was
removed from his parents' care after a fire was
intentionally set in the family home while B.P. was present.
Both parents were criminally charged in connection with the
fire incident. Father pled guilty to attempted aggravated
arson, vandalism, and child endangering. He was sentenced to
a total of 18 months in prison. Mother initially was found
incompetent to stand trial; however, after she received
treatment to restore competency, she pled guilty to charges
of obstruction of justice, vandalism, and child endangering.
She was sentenced to two years of community control, and
later was incarcerated after violating community control
3} After the fire incident occurred, CCDCFS filed a
complaint for abuse, neglect, and permanent custody of B.P.,
and the trial court committed B.P. to the emergency temporary
custody of CCDCFS on October 17, 2016. The initial complaint
was voluntarily dismissed, and a new complaint was filed on
April 25, 2017. B.P. was continued in the emergency temporary
custody of CCDCFS. Following the birth of R.P., CCDCFS filed
a complaint for dependency and permanent custody of R.P. on
May 2, 2017, and the trial court committed R.P. to the
emergency temporary custody of CCDCFS on May 3, 2017. The
complaints were later amended. The amended complaints
referenced the criminal convictions of the parents with
regard to the intentionally set fire in the family's
home. Also, among other allegations, the amended complaints
alleged that Mother has significant cognitive and mental
health issues that impede her from providing adequate care
for the child, that Father has a mental health condition that
affects his ability to provide safe and adequate care for the
child, and that both parents had previously mismanaged their
income and been unable to independently provide for the basic
needs of B.P.
4} An adjudication hearing was held on December 4,
2017. Both Mother and Father entered an admission to the
amended complaints. B.P. was found to be abused and
neglected, and R.P. was found to be dependent. A subsequent
hearing was held on December 13, 2017, at which a stipulation
was made that reasonable efforts had been made by CCDCFS and
the services that had been provided to Mother and Father were
5} A dispositional hearing was held on March 7,
2018, at which the trial court heard testimony and received
evidence. On August 27, 2018, the trial court issued a
judgment in the case of each child. The trial court made the
requisite determinations upon a number of findings that were
supported by the record. The trial court granted permanent
custody of each child to CCDCFS and terminated the parental
rights of Mother and Father.
6} Mother and Father separately appealed. This court
consolidated the appeals for hearing and disposition.
7} Under her first assignment of error, Mother
claims the trial court erred by accepting her admission to
the amended complaint without first determining the extent of
her psychiatric disorder and the effect it had on her ability
to understand the consequences of her admission. She argues
the same competency standard applied in criminal cases should
be applied to an admission in abuse, neglect, and dependency