Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fifth District, Coshocton
IN THE MATTER OF: D.P. DEPENDENT CHILD
Appeal from the Court of Common Pleas, Juvenile Division,
Case No. 21730035
Appellee CCJFS CHRISTIE M.L. THORNSLEY E. MARIE SEIBER
Appellant-Mother E. MARIE SEIBER
JUDGES: Hon. William B. Hoffman, P. J. Hon. John W. Wise, J.
Hon. Patricia A. Delaney, J.
Appellant Stephanie S. appeals the decision of the Coshocton
County Court of Common Pleas, Juvenile Division, which
granted permanent custody of her minor son, D.P., to Appellee
Coshocton County Job and Family Services. The relevant facts
leading to this appeal are as follows.
On June 29, 2017, Appellee CCJFS filed a complaint in the
trial court alleging that D.P., born in 2015, was a dependent
and neglected child. CCJFS alleged inter alia that
there were concerns of parental drug abuse, unstable and
unsafe home conditions, mental health issues, and domestic
violence in the home. Following a shelter care hearing, D.P
was placed in the temporary custody of CCJFS.
On September 20, 2017, appellant stipulated to a dependency
finding. A case plan was presented to the trial court, and,
as to disposition, D.P. was ordered to be maintained in the
temporary custody of CCJFS.
On September 6, 2018, CCJFS filed a motion for permanent
An evidentiary hearing was scheduled for December 14, 2018.
However, on November 1, 2018, about six weeks before the
hearing, one of D.P.'s maternal aunts, Jolene B.,
contacted the agency caseworker and requested a home study
for placement and potential legal custody of the child. Tr.
According to the record before us, CCJFS generally contracts
for home studies with an outside specialist, Marcia Schmitt.
However, upon receipt of Jolene B.'s November 1, 2018
request, the assigned CCJFS caseworker, Erin Heard, decided
not to make a referral to Schmitt; instead, she essentially
reviewed the aunt's extensive prior Ohio children
services involvement in Ohio via the Statewide Automated
Child Welfare Information System ("SACWIS"). Tr. at
238. Based on this review, the agency did not pursue Jolene
B. as a potential person for placement or eventual legal
custody. Caseworker Heard also found out later that appellant
and Jolene B. were living in the same home. Heard later
testified that had she known of this arrangement,
Jolene's request would have been automatically denied.
Tr. at 239.
The permanent custody motion was heard by the trial court on
December 14, 2018 and January 12, 2019. The trial court
issued a 21-page decision granting permanent custody to the
agency on March 21, 2019, approximately five months after the
aforesaid request by the aunt, Jolene B., for a home study.
On April 22, 2019, appellant-mother filed a notice of appeal.
She herein raises ...