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In re A.M.

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Ninth District, Summit

December 18, 2019

IN RE: A.M.

          APPEAL FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF SUMMIT, OHIO CASE No. DN 17-06-0464

          JAMES REED, Attorney at Law, for Appellant.

          SHERRI BEVAN WALSH, Prosecuting Attorney, and HEAVEN DIMARTINO GUEST, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for Appellee.

          SHUBHRA N. AGARWAL, Attorney at Law, for Appellee.

          MICHELLE TOMER, Attorney at Law, for Appellee.

          BENJAMIN AYERS, Guardian ad Litem.

          DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY

          JENNIFER HENSAL, JUDGE.

         {¶1} Appellant, J.M. ("Father"), appeals from a judgment of the Summit County Court of Common Pleas, Juvenile Division, that placed his minor child in the legal custody of a longtime family friend, M.P. This Court affirms.

         I.

         {¶2} Father is the biological father of A.M., born August 28, 2009. The child's mother ("Mother") did not appeal the trial court's judgment.

         {¶3} At the time this case began, A.M. was residing with Mother, maternal grandparents, and two older half-siblings who are not Father's children. During May 2017, Summit County Children Services Board ("CSB") received a referral that one of the older half-siblings disclosed during a visit with her father that Mother abused drugs and mistreated her. That child further reported that she had repeatedly attempted suicide while living with Mother and that she would kill herself if she had to return to Mother's home.

         {¶4} CSB filed complaints regarding all three children, but A.M. is the only child who is a party to this appeal. CSB's complaint pertaining to A.M. alleged that she was a dependent child because of Mother's ongoing drug use, inappropriate behavior toward her children, and abuse of one of the older children. A.M. was later adjudicated a dependent child and placed in the temporary custody of CSB.

         {¶5} Mother requested that the three children be placed in the home of M.P., a family friend. After M.P. was approved as a kinship placement, A.M. and her older half-siblings resided in her home throughout this case.

         {¶6} During this case, Mother made little progress on the reunification goals of the case plan, but Father expressed an interest in custody of A.M. Because Father had a minimal parent-child relationship with then seven-year-old A.M., he was required to develop a relationship with her and demonstrate that he could provide her with a suitable home. Father's visits with A.M. were initially supervised at the visitation ...


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