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In re Children

Court of Appeals of Ohio, First District, Hamilton

July 19, 2019


          Hamilton County Trial No. F07-1763Z Juvenile Court.

          Phyllis Schiff, for Appellant Mother,

          Cynthia Daugherty, In re Williams Attorney, for Appellants K.W. and K.W.,

          Joseph T. Deters, Hamilton County Prosecuting Attorney, and Patsy Bradbury, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for Appellee Hamilton County Department of Job and Family Services,

          Raymond T. Faller, Hamilton County Public Defender, and Amanda Robinson, Assistant Public Defender, Appellee Guardian ad Litem for K.W. and K.W.


          Mock, Presiding Judge.

         {¶1} Mother appeals the trial court's judgment terminating her parental rights with respect to her two youngest children, K.W.1, currently nine years old, and K.W.2, currently six years old. The children, through their In re Williams attorney, also appeal the trial court's judgment granting permanent custody to the Hamilton County Department of Job and Family Services ("HCJFS"). For the following reasons, we affirm.

         {¶2} Mother first had contact with HCJFS in December 2007 when her three older children were removed from her care. The children were removed from the home when, on two separate occasions, the children's daycare provider returned the children to their home to find that mother was not present and no childcare had been arranged. The juvenile court adjudicated the three older children dependent, and granted legal custody of mother's son to the child's father, and legal custody of mother's two older daughters to paternal grandparents. The court based its decision on the facts that mother suffered from an untreated mental-health issue, had not complied with her case-plan services, including urine screens, and had not visited with the children regularly or attended the most recent court hearings.

         {¶3} In 2010, mother gave birth to K.W.1 and, three years later, gave birth to K.W.2. In 2014, mother moved for custody of her two older daughters who were in the legal custody of their paternal grandparents. The paternal grandparents, believing that mother was now able to parent appropriately, supported mother's motion and the trial court granted legal custody to mother. A year later, the paternal grandparents moved to regain custody of the two older children based on the children's report that mother was staying out all night, calling them names, hitting them and withholding food from them.

         {¶4} In June 2015, HCJFS removed all four children from mother's care based on the allegation that mother had stomped and punched K.W.2 causing her injury. HCJFS investigated, and the two older children admitted that mother had "stomped, punched and kicked" K.W.2. HCJFS implemented a safety plan, placing the two older girls with their paternal grandparents and placing K.W.1 and K.W.2 with mother's former foster parent. Unfortunately, mother's behavior disrupted the safety plan for K.W.1 and K.W.2, causing HCJFS to move for interim temporary custody of all four girls. Mother agreed to interim custody, and the court ordered that the two older children remain with their paternal grandparents and K.W.1 and K.W.2 be placed in foster care.

         {¶5} The juvenile court adjudicated all four children dependent in May 2016, and awarded legal custody of the two older children to paternal grandparents and ordered K.W.1 and K.W.2 to remain in the temporary custody of HCJFS. The court ordered mother to participate in supervised visitation, case management, parenting classes, and toxicology screens and to follow any recommendations from a diagnostic assessment performed by Family Access to Integrated Recovery ("FAIR").

         {¶6} FAIR recommended that mother participate in individual counseling to work on her impulse control and anger issues. Mother did not report any substance-abuse issues at that time. Mother began individual therapy through Greater Cincinnati Behavioral Health ("GCB") but in the December 2015 semiannual review, HCJFS reported that mother's therapist believed mother required more intensive services than GCB could provide. Mother reported at that time that she had been diagnosed with depression and bipolar disorder. Mother eventually stopped attending therapy.

         {¶7} In the summer of 2016, mother was convicted of criminal simulation and the unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. She was sentenced to 11 months of community control. She was also involved in a domestic-violence incident in 2016 with the father of K.W.2, who was arrested but not convicted because mother refused to testify against him. KW.2's father reported that the domestic dispute was caused by mother stealing drugs that he had been selling out of mother's home. HCJFS reported that mother tested positive for cocaine in the summer of 2016. Mother admitted to recreational use but reported that she was not addicted.

         {¶8} In December 2016, mother testified positive for alcohol during a toxicology screen, and one month later tested positive for cocaine. HCJFS referred mother to FAIR for another diagnostic assessment. FAIR recommended mother start outpatient drug treatment as well as resume mental-health treatment. Mother attended an intake meeting at the Talbert House for substance-abuse and mental-health treatment, but Talbert House discharged mother in March 2017 because she had not been participating in services. Around that time mother requested that HCJFS investigate ...

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