Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga
IN RE L.B. A Minor Child Appeal by Li.B., Mother
Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas
Juvenile Division Case No. AD-18911292
Tadd Pinkston, for appellant.
Michael C. O'Malley, Cuyahoga County Prosecuting
Attorney, and Anthony R. Beery, Assistant Prosecuting
Attorney, for appellee.
JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION
A. JONES, SR., J.
1} Appellant-Mother appeals the trial court's
granting of permanent custody of L.B. to the Cuyahoga County
Department of Children and Family Services
("CCDCFS" or "agency"). For the reasons
that follow, we affirm.
2} In 2018, CCDCFS filed a motion for permanent
custody of L.B. The matter proceeded to a hearing, at which
the following evidence was presented.
3} Mother is the mother of five children, including
Mother does not have custody of any of her children
- three of her children are in the custody
of paternal grandfather and the agency has permanent custody
of the fourth child.
4} Mother is a habitual drug user with a drug
history dating back to 2003. L.B. was born drug-dependent in
2016, the second of Mother's children to be born
drug-dependent. After L.B. was born and went through
withdrawal, Mother entered a treatment facility with L.B.
Mother soon relapsed and was discharged from the treatment
facility. The agency took emergency custody of L.B. in April
2016, when he was two months old. Mother's case plan
included substance abuse and mental health treatment.
5} L.B. returned to his mother's care in May
2018, and the court granted protective supervision to the
agency. Protective supervision remained in place until Mother
completed a drug-court program through juvenile court.
Approximately one month after Mother successfully completed
her program, and less than a week after the agency terminated
protective supervision, Mother relapsed on fentanyl, and the
agency took emergency custody of L.B. and moved for permanent
custody. At this time, L.B. had been in mother's care for
approximately four months of his life.
6} When the agency moved for permanent custody in
September 2018, the county also moved for predispositional
temporary custody, but did not seek emergency custody of L.B.
because Mother was living with a friend who could temporarily
serve as a "sober support" to Mother and caregiver
for L.B. The agency ultimately determined that Mother's
friend could not take custody of L.B. because Mother resided
in her friend's house and continued to use drugs. The
agency also had concerns with regard to the friend's
ability to care for L.B. long-term because the friend was the
sole caregiver for his adult son, who had special needs.
7} Mother continued to use drugs and refused drug
screens so the agency moved for emergency custody of L.B. The
court granted the agency's motion and found that L.B. was
a dependent child. At the time of the February 2019 permanent
custody hearing, Mother openly admitted to her case worker
that she continued to abuse heroin and fentanyl. Despite
agency efforts, Mother was also not participating in
8} The case worker testified that Mother had
completed substance abuse programs in the past, but relapsed.
Mother visited with the child and those visits were
appropriate. Mother was employed and had housing, but had to
move if she wanted her child placed in that home.
9} The case worker testified that L.B. was with the
same foster mother since being placed in agency custody, was
doing well in the foster home and had no special needs, and
the foster mother expressed an interest in adopting L.B.
10} L.B.'s guardian ad litem wrote a report
recommending permanent custody to be in L.B.'s best
interest. She testified at the hearing that her
recommendation had not changed since she wrote the report.
11} The trial court granted the agency's motion
and placed L.B. in the permanent custody of CCDCFS. This
timely appeal followed.
12} Mother raises two assignments of ...