Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fifth District, Muskingum
IN THE MATTER OF: M.S. and L.S., DEPENDENT CHILDREN
from the Muskingum County Court of Common Pleas, Juvenile
Division, Case Nos. 21630183 & 21730050
Plaintiff-Appellee D. MICHAEL HADDOX Prosecuting Attorney
Muskingum County, Ohio By: GERALD V. ANDERSON II Assistant
Defendant-Appellant R.S. MICHAEL J. CONNICK Michael J.
Connick Co., LPA.
JUDGES: Hon. W. Scott Gwin, P.J. Hon. Craig R. Baldwin, J.
Hon. Earle E. Wise, J.
Appellant R.S. appeals from the February 27, 2019 Entry of
the Muskingum County Court of Common Pleas, Juvenile
Division, terminating her parental rights and granting
permanent custody of M.S. and L.S. to Muskingum County
Children Services (MCCS).
OF THE FACTS AND CASE
Appellant R.S. is the biological mother of M.S. (DOB
11/18/2011) and L.S. (DOB 4/6/2017). On December 1, 2016,
MCCS filed a complaint alleging that M.S. was a dependent
child. On the same date, a Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) was
appointed. Following a shelter care hearing on December 2,
2016, M.S. was placed in the temporary custody of the Agency.
On March 24, 2017, prior to L.S.'s birth, appellant was
arrested for causing a disturbance at a local gas station.
She was jailed for disorderly conduct and tested positive for
On February 27, 2017, the trial court held hearings for
adjudication and disposition. M.S. was found to be a
dependent child and the trial court ordered that she continue
in the temporary custody of MCCS. The trial court further
ordered that visitation between M.S. and her mother would be
at the discretion of the Agency.
On April 7, 2017, MCCS filed a complaint alleging that L.S.
was a dependent and neglected child. As memorialized in an ex
parte order filed on April 7, 2017, L.S. was placed in the
temporary custody of MCCS. On June 26, 2017, L.S. was found
to be a dependent child and the trial court ordered that she
remain in the temporary custody of the Agency. The State
dismissed its allegation of neglect.
On July 6, 2018, MCCS filed a Motion for Permanent Custody of
the two children. A hearing on the motion was held on
November 20, 2018.
At the hearing, Gary Wolfgang, Ph.D. testified that he was a
psychologist and clinical counselor and that he did a
psychological evaluation on R.S. The following testimony was
adduced when he was asked what conclusions he drew from her
ability to parent:
A. Well, I found that there were significant limitations
based on her mental health issues and presentation in the
interview. She has - - she had a long-standing history of
methamphetamine abuse that had been five years in duration.
She was reportedly clean from that drug at the time we met,
but she would seem to meet the criteria for bipolar disorder,
personality disorder, potentially ADHD, and she had multiple
symptoms over the course of our interview time. She had a
very great deal of difficulty with the process.
Q: But you were able to complete the evaluation; correct?
Q: And what - - did you draw any other conclusions concerning
A: Well, you know, those diagnoses that I've already
stated. She reported at the time she was out of work except
for a workshop that she was working as part of the mental
health center. She didn't have a place to live. She was
homeless at least at that time.
very little in the way of a support system. She talked about
an individual who was her support system who she admitted had
either raped her or had exploited her sexually.
refusing psychotropic medications that had previously been
prescribed by two different providers and found to have been
necessary for her care, and there were a wide range of
significant concerns found.
Transcript at 7-8. Dr. Wolgang opined that appellant needed
the medications and also needed a job and a home and needed
to be clean from her substances. As of the second of their
three appointments, appellant had not yet enrolled in a
rehabilitation program. Based on the "severity of her
really lifelong history of mental health and behavioral
difficulties", Dr. Wolfgang believed that even with
treatment, appellant's prognosis was "guarded to
poor." Transcript at 9. His report was admitted as an
exhibit. When asked, it stated that this evaluation was done
with psychological certainty.
On cross-examination, Dr. Wolfgang testified that a crisis
center through Allwell could provide appellant with some of
the services that he thought were necessary. The last time
that Dr. Wolfgang saw appellant was on May 17, 2017.
The next witness to testify was Kelly Lee, a counselor at
Muskingum Behavioral Health (MBH). She testified that she had
seen or worked with R.S. and that due to R.S.'s mental
state, they put her in outpatient treatment. According to
Lee, appellant attended 10 sessions and missed 13 and was
still in the program. Appellant's last attendance was on
November 1, 2018 and appellant had started in February. Lee
testified that appellant was usually supposed to be attending
weekly sessions but that sometimes "it goes a little bit
longer, but that appellant had not been there weekly and had
missed 13 individual and 5 group sessions. Lee testified that
she was counseling appellant for addiction and that appellant
had a "severe ...