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In re L.W.

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Ninth District, Lorain

December 23, 2019

IN RE: L.W.

          APPEAL FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF LORAIN, OHIO CASE No. 17JC52411

          MARC STOLARSKY, Attorney at Law, for Appellant

          DENNIS P. WILL, Prosecuting Attorney, and EMILY W. KIRSCH, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for Appellee.

          MARYANN MARTZ, Guardian ad Litem.

          DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY

          THOMAS A. TEODOSIO, Presiding Judge.

         {¶1} Appellant, D.W. ("Mother"), appeals from a judgment of the Lorain County Court of Common Pleas, Juvenile Division, that terminated her parental rights and placed her minor child in the permanent custody of Lorain County Children Services ("LCCS"). This Court affirms.

         I.

         {¶2} Mother is the biological mother of the only child at issue in this appeal: L.W., born August 1, 2014. The father of L.W. did not appeal the trial court's judgment.

         {¶3} During December 2008, Mother's parental rights to two older children were involuntarily terminated in West Virginia. The basis for the removal and ultimate termination of parental rights was Mother's unstable mental health and domestic violence in the home. Years later, Mother gave birth to another child, but later relinquished custody of that child during another juvenile case in West Virginia.

         {¶4} Mother also has a children services history with L.W. while she lived in Maryland because of domestic violence in the home and Mother's failure to meet L.W.'s special medical needs. L.W. has a genetic chromosome abnormality that has resulted in developmental delays in her speech and motor skills and causes her to suffer seizures.

         {¶5} LCCS first became involved with Mother and L.W. on August 15, 2017. Mother took L.W. to a hospital emergency room, attempting to seek medical attention for the child, but Mother was behaving erratically and irrationally. Because police and hospital personnel feared that Mother posed a safety risk to L.W. and herself, Mother was involuntarily committed to the hospital psychiatric ward. LCCS was unable to find any suitable relative or friend to care for L.W., so the child was placed in the emergency temporary custody of LCCS.

         {¶6} After the 72-hour involuntary hold expired, Mother signed an agreement to remain in the hospital for continued psychiatric treatment. During her hospital stay, she reported that she had a history of mental illness and had run out of her prescribed psychiatric medication. Mother was diagnosed with bipolar disorder with psychotic symptoms and was given several psychiatric medications, including one to control her delusional thoughts. Her behavior improved significantly while she was hospitalized. The hospital discharged Mother after six days with prescriptions for two psychiatric medications and instructions that she engage in ongoing counseling, but she did not follow through.

         {¶7} L.W. was later adjudicated a neglected and dependent child and placed in the temporary custody of LCCS. The original case plan focused on Mother addressing her unstable mental health. LCCS later amended the case plan to add a substance abuse component because Mother was arrested on a charge of possession of cocaine. Mother admitted that she began using cocaine because she was stressed out about losing custody of L.W.

         {¶8} During the following year, Mother made little progress on the goals of the case plan. Mother eventually obtained a mental health assessment but only sporadically followed through with recommended counseling and psychiatric medication. For approximately six months, Mother engaged in counseling with one provider, but she attended only 10 of the 23 appointments that were scheduled. Moreover, Mother repeatedly changed mental health providers and, perhaps as a result, her ...


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