Abuse, Dependency, or Neglect complaints are filed in the Juvenile Court by the Children’s Services Agency of the county wherein the child resides through the County’s Prosecutor’s Office. These complaints typically arise when there has been a “referral” to Children’s Services alleging some form of mistreatment of a juvenile by his or her caregivers. Upon receiving the referral, Children’s Services will usually conduct an investigation into the allegations to substantiate or dispel them. If Children’s Services believes that the children are “abused, neglected, or dependent”, they may file such a complaint.
An “adjudication” hearing is required before any court can order a disposition (or placement) of the child. The adjudication is analogous to a “trial” in criminal court; the State must prove abuse, dependency, or neglect. Some common definitions and procedures in these cases can be found below.
- The child is the victim of “sexual activity” as defined under Chapter 2907 of the Revised Code, where such activity would constitute an offense under that chapter, except that the court need not find that any person has been convicted of the offense in order to find that the child is an abused child.
- The child is endangered as defined in section 2919.22 of the Revised Code, except that the court need not find that any person has been convicted under that section in order to find that the child is an abused child.
- The child exhibits evidence of any physical or mental injury or death, inflicted other than by accidental means, or an injury or death which is at variance with the history given of it.
- The child, because of the acts of the child’s parents, guardian, or custodian, suffers physical or mental injury that harms or threatens to harm the child’s health or welfare.
- The child is subjected to out-of-home care child abuse.
- The child is abandoned by the child’s parents, guardian, or custodian.
- The child lacks adequate parental care because of the faults or habits of the child’s parents, guardian, or custodian.
- The child’s parents, guardian, or custodian neglects the child or refuses to provide proper or necessary subsistence, education, medical, or surgical care or treatment, or other care necessary for the child’s health, morals, or well being.
- The child’s parents, guardian, or custodian neglects the child or refuses to provide the special care made necessary by the child’s mental condition.
- The child’s parents, legal guardian, or custodian has placed or attempted to place the child in violation of §5103.16 and §5103.17 of the Revised Code.
- The child, because of the omission of the child’s parents, guardian, or custodian suffers physical or mental injury that harms or threatens to harm the child’s health or welfare.
- The child is subjected to out-of-home child neglect.
- The child is homeless or destitute or without adequate parental care, through no fault of the child’s parents, guardian, or custodian.
- The child lacks adequate parental care by reason of the mental or physical condition of the child’s parents, guardian, or custodian.
- The child’s condition or environment is such as to warrant the state, in the interests of the child, in assuming the child’s guardianship.
- The child is residing in a household in which a parent, guardian, custodian, or other member of the household committed an act that was the basis for an adjudication of abuse, neglect, or dependency, and, because of those circumstances, the child is in danger of being abused or neglected.
- A child whose parent(s) has voluntarily delivered the child to an emergency medical service worker, peace officer, or hospital employee without expressing an intent to return for the child.
If the state puts forth the requisite evidence, and the Court “adjudicates” the child abused, neglected, or dependent, the Court now has asserted jurisdiction and authority over the placement of the child, and will move on to the “dispositional” hearing. The Court can order any of the following dispositions.
Protective Supervision (PSUP)
A legal status whereby Children’s Services is ordered to provide needed services to the family and the family is ordered to make efforts to correct concerns of the Court and Agency pursuant to a “case plan”. Children typically remain in the home, and PSUP is generally granted up to one year and extended in six month intervals.
Temporary Custody (TC)
A legal status whereby the child is placed into foster care or with a relative or appropriate non-relative. TC may be granted up to an initial period of one year during which time the parents work a case plan to correct the concerns of the agency or court. It can be extended in six month intervals.
A legal status of custody meant to be a permanent placement arrangement, but does not terminate parental rights to parenting time, support, etcetera. LC can be given to the parents, with a relative, or an appropriate third party non-relative.
Planned Permanent Living Arrangement (PPLA)
A legal status whereby the child is placed in foster care with the intent that the child will remain in foster care until beyond his or her 18th birthday. PPLA is designed to provide the child with skills that will enable the child to live independently and function as an adult in society.
Permanent Custody (PC)
A legal status which terminates all parental rights to the child and permits the agency to place the child for adoption. This is the most serious of cases, and requires specific findings before the Court can make such an order.