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In re B.P.

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga

July 18, 2019

IN RE: B.P., ET AL. Minor Children Appeal by C.P. and L.P.

          Civil 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

          SEAN 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.

         Background

         {¶ 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 sanctions.

         {¶ 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 set forth.

         {¶ 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.

         Mother's Appeal

         {¶ 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 cases. ...


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