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OHIO STATUTE SUMMARY/Termination of Parental Rights
Termination of Parental Rights
At the bottom of the following summary you will find a link that will take you to the Ohio state code website. The citations in the summary will aid in your search for the full text of the relevant provisions on the state code website.
An agreement for temporary custody between a parent or other person with legal custody and an agency may be made without court approval and may last for up to 30 days. Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 5103.15(A)(1).
If the agreement is for the purpose of adoption of a child under 6 months of age, the agreement may extend up to 60 days. Requests for extensions of these time periods may be filed with the juvenile court. At the expiration of the original or extended time period, the agency must return the child to the parent or custodian or file a complaint for temporary or permanent custody with the court. Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 5103.15(A)(1)-(2).
A parent or legal guardian may, subject to juvenile court approval, agree to surrender permanent custody of a child to an agency. Such agency must file a request for approval by the juvenile court. The court must then determine whether the agreement is in the best interests of the child. Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 5103.15(B)(1).
A parent or legal guardian may agree to the surrender of a child of less than 6 years of age to the permanent custody of the agency for purposes of adoption without court approval, but the agency is required to notify the juvenile court not later than 2 business days after it places such child for adoption. Agreements shall be in the form and manner prescribed by the Department. Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 5103.15(B)(2).
A court shall hold a hearing on a motion for permanent custody not later than one hundred twenty days after the agency files the motion, except that the court may continue the hearing for good cause for a reasonable period of time beyond the one-hundred-twenty-day deadline. The court shall issue an order that grants, denies, or otherwise disposes of the motion for permanent custody, and journalize the order, not later than two hundred days after the agency files the motion.
The failure of the court to comply with these time does not affect the authority of the court to issue any order under this chapter and does not provide any basis for attacking the jurisdiction of the court or the validity of any order of the court.
Ohio Revised Code Ann. § 2151.414 (2).
If a complaint contains a prayer for permanent custody as a primary or alternative disposition or before a temporary commitment to the agency is made permanent, the court must set a hearing in accordance with Ohio Rev. Code § 2151.414 and shall cause notice by summons to be served on the parent or guardian of the child and the guardian ad litem of the child, or shall publish notice as provided in Ohio Rev. Code § section 2151.29. The summons shall explain that the granting of permanent custody permanently divests the parents of their parental rights and privileges. Ohio Rev. Code § Ann. 2151.28 (D).
A court may not issue an order for permanent custody unless the complaint alleging abuse, neglect, or dependency contains a prayer requesting permanent custody, the summons served on the parents of the child contains a full explanation that the granting of an order for permanent custody permanently divests them of their parental rights and a full explanation that an adjudication that the child is an abused, neglected, or dependent child may result in an order of temporary custody causing the removal of the child from their legal custody until the court either terminates the temporary custody order or permanently divests the parents of their parental rights, and the summons served on the parents contains a full explanation of their right to be represented by counsel and to have counsel appointed if they are indigent. ORC Ann. § 2151.353 (B).
Upon the filing of a motion for permanent custody of a child, the court shall schedule a hearing and give notice of the filing of the motion and of the hearing to all parties to the action and to the child's guardian ad litem. The notice shall contain a full explanation that the granting of permanent custody permanently divests the parents of their parental rights, a full explanation of their right to be represented by counsel and to have counsel appointed if they are indigent, and the name and telephone number of the court employee designated by the arrange for the prompt appointment of counsel for indigent persons. Ohio Revised Code Ann. § 2151.414 (A) (1).
If a court issues an order committing a child to the permanent custody of a public children services agency or a private child placing agency, the parents of the child whose parental rights were terminated cease to be parties to the action, although their right to appeal the permanent custody order remains intact. Ohio Rev. Code § Ann. 2151.35 ( D).
Unless it has compelling reasons for not doing so, an agency shall petition the court for permanent custody of a child when any of the following conditions are present:
• the parent has been convicted of or pled guilty to enumerated crimes;
• although financially able to do so, the parent has repeatedly withheld medical treatment or food from the child;
• the parent has placed the child at substantial risk two or more times because of drug or alcohol abuse and has rejected treatment;
• the parent has abandoned the child under Ohio Admin. Code § 5101:2-1-01;
• the child is determined to be a deserted child.
Ohio Admin. Code § 5101:2-42-95(A)(1)-(2).
The court may grant permanent custody of a child to an agency if the court determines at the hearing held pursuant to the motion, by clear and convincing evidence, that it is in the best interest of the child to grant permanent custody of the child to the agency that filed the motion and any of the following apply:
• The child is not abandoned or orphaned or has not been in the temporary custody of one or more public children services agencies or private child placing agencies for twelve or more months of a consecutive twenty-two month period ending on or after March 18, 1999, and the child cannot or should not be placed with either of the child's parents within a reasonable time.
• The child is abandoned.
• The child is orphaned, and there are no relatives of the child who are able to take permanent custody.
• The child has been in the temporary custody of one or more public children services agencies or private child placing agencies for twelve or more months of a consecutive twenty-two month period ending on or after March 18, 1999.
For the purposes of this section, a child shall be considered to have entered the temporary custody of an agency on the earlier of the date the child is adjudicated or the date that is sixty days after the removal of the child from home.
Ohio Revised Code Ann. § 2151.414 (B) (1) - (2).
Upon filing of a motion for permanent custody, the court shall conduct a hearing to determine if it is in the best interest of the child to permanently terminate parental rights and grant permanent custody to the agency. The adjudication that a child is abused, neglected, or dependent and any dispositional order issued in the case shall not be readjudicated and shall not be affected by a denial of the motion for permanent custody. Ohio Revised Code Ann. § 2151.414 (A) (1).
In determining the best interest of a child at a hearing on permanent custody, the court shall consider all relevant factors, including, but not limited to, the following:
• The relationship of the child with the child's parents, siblings, relatives, foster caregivers and out-of-home providers, or other person who may significantly affect the child;
• The wishes of the child, as expressed by the child or through the child's GAL, giving due regard to the child’s maturity;
• The custodial history of the child, including whether the child has been in temporary custody for twelve or more months of a consecutive twenty-two month period ending on or after March 18, 1999;
• The child's need for a legally secure permanent placement and whether can be achieved without granting permanent custody to the agency;
• Whether any of the factors enumerated in Ohio Revised Code Ann. 2151.414 (E) (1)-(11) (see below) apply in relation to the parents and child.
Ohio Revised Code Ann. 2151.414 (D)
In whether a child cannot be placed with either parent within a reasonable period of time or should not be placed with the parents, the court shall consider all relevant evidence. If the court determines, by clear and convincing evidence, that one or more of the following exist as to each of the child's parents, the court shall enter a finding that the child cannot or should not be placed with either parent:
• Following the child’s placement the home and despite reasonable case planning and diligent efforts by the agency to assist the parents to remedy the problems that caused the child’s placement, the parent failed continuously and repeatedly to substantially remedy the conditions causing the child’s placement outside the home.
• Chronic mental illness, chronic emotional illness, mental retardation, physical disability, or chemical dependency of the parent so severe that the parent is unable to provide an adequate permanent home for the child at the present time and, as anticipated, will be unable to do so within one year after the court holds the permanent custody hearing;
The parent committed any abuse as described in Ohio Revised Code 2151.031, caused or allowed the child to suffer neglect as described in Ohio Revised Code 2151.03 between the date that the original complaint alleging abuse or neglect was filed and the date of the filing of the permanent custody motion;
The parent has demonstrated a lack of commitment toward the child by failing to regularly support, visit, or communicate with the child when able to do so, or by other actions showing an unwillingness to provide an adequate permanent home for the child;
• The parent is incarcerated for an offense committed against the child or a sibling of the child;
• The parent has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to an enumerated offense and the child or a sibling of the child was a victim of the offense or the parent has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to an offense under Ohio Revised Code 2903.04, a sibling of the child was the victim of the offense, and the parent who committed the offense poses an ongoing danger to the child or a sibling of the child.
• The parent has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to other enumerated offenses;
• The parent repeatedly withheld medical treatment or food from the child when the parent has the means to provide the treatment or food, and, in the case of withheld medical treatment, the parent withheld it for a purpose other than to treat the physical or mental illness or defect of the child by spiritual means through prayer alone in accordance with the tenets of a recognized religious body.
• The parent placed the child at substantial risk of harm two or more times due to alcohol or drug abuse and has rejected treatment two or more times or refused to participate in further treatment two or more times after a case plan issued;
• The parent abandoned the child.
• The parent had parental rights involuntarily terminated with respect to a sibling of the child;
• The parent is incarcerated at the time of the filing of the motion for permanent custody or the dispositional hearing of the child and will not be available to care for the child for at least eighteen months after the filing of the motion for permanent custody or the dispositional hearing.
• The parent is repeatedly incarcerated, and the repeated incarceration prevents the parent from providing care for the child.
• The parent for any reason is unwilling to provide food, clothing, shelter, and other basic necessities for the child or to prevent the child from suffering physical, emotional, or sexual abuse or physical, emotional, or mental neglect.
• The parent has committed abuse against the child or caused or allowed the child to suffer neglect, and the court determines that the seriousness, nature, or likelihood of recurrence of the abuse or neglect makes the child's placement with the child's parent a threat to the child's safety.
• Any other factor the court considers relevant.
Representation of Parties
A child, the child's parents or custodian, or any other person in loco parentis to a the child is entitled to representation by legal counsel at all stages of the proceedings under this Ohio Rev. Code Chapters 2151 and 2152. If an indigent party is unable to employ counsel, that party is entitled to have counsel provided pursuant to Chapter 120, with certain exception. If a party appears without counsel, the court must determine whether the party knows of the right to counsel and of right to be appointed counsel if the party is indigent. The court may continue the case to allow a party to obtain counsel, to be represented by the county public defender or the joint county public defender, or to be appointed counsel upon request. Counsel must be provided for a child not represented by the child's parent, guardian, or custodian. If the interests of two or more such parties conflict, separate counsel must be provided for each of them.
The parents, custodian, or guardian of a child taken into custody, and any attorney representing them or the child, shall be entitled to visit the child at any reasonable time, and to be given notice of and be present at any hearing involving the child.
A report, or part of a report concerning a child, used in and pertinent to the hearing, shall upon good cause shown be made available to any attorney representing the child or the parents, custodian, or guardian of the child, upon written request prior to any hearing involving the child.
Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2151.352
If a court determines that a child cannot or should not be placed with one of the child's parents within a reasonable time and determines that permanent commitment to state custody is in the best interest of the child, the court shall commit the child to the permanent custody of a public children services agency or private child placing agency. The court shall file a written opinion setting forth findings of fact and conclusions of law in relation to the proceeding upon the request of any party.
Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2151.353 (A)(4).
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