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Abuse, Neglect, and Dependency in Ohio

Even is the best environments, allegations can be made against a parent or guardian that leads to a abuse, neglect, or dependency case. In Ohio an abuse case typically means that the child was allegedly harmed in some way. Neglect in Ohio alleges that a child was not properly cared for or was mistreated. A dependency case alleges that a parent needs assistance in properly caring for a child by no fault of their own.

Abuse, Neglect, Dependency

Some of the most common situations that result in these types of cases include domestic violence, drugs, and physical abuse of a child. If a child tests positive for an illegal substance at birth, it is almost certain that Child Protective Services (CPS) will open an investigation that may result in an abuse, neglect, or dependency case. Other causes of these types of cases include a domestic violence that takes place with the children present or a parent with a drug problem.

Process of a Abuse, Neglect, or Dependency Case in Ohio

Abuse, neglect, and dependency cases are heard in the juvenile courts and are considered civil in nature. Although the process may vary from case to case and by county, the overall process is usually as follows:

1) Some allegation is made by a child, law enforcement, school, or other individual;
2) CPS investigates the allegation;
3) If CPS believes the allegation to be true a case is opened alleging abuse, neglect, or dependency;
4) An adjudicatory hearing or hearing on the complaint is held to determine if the child is abused, neglected, or dependent;
5) If the Court finds that the child is abused, neglected, or dependent, a dispositional hearing is held to determine the course of action (this is like sentencing in a criminal case). The dispositional order may require something such as protective supervision or temporary custody to the state or agency.

CPS will likely establish a case plan at the start of a case indicating concerns and the agency’s recommendation for correcting any issues and keeping the child safe. The parents will typically be expected to follow the case plan and complete any recommended courses of action. The Court will typically adopt the case plan as part of its dispositional orders making it a requirement that the parents comply with all terms of the case plan.

Case plans may include things such as parenting classes, drug and alcohol assessments, domestic violence classes, random drug screens, and allowing case workers to visit the home on a regular basis. If the Court adopts a case plan as part of its order, a party can be held in contempt for failing to abide by and complete the case plan. Failing to complete a case plan can also lead to removal of a child.

Depending on the circumstances of the case, there may also be accompanying criminal charges such as child endangerment. The state has broad discretion as to the outcome of one of these cases such as protective supervision, temporary custody, and even permanent custody.

If there are any allegations made involving your child contact a licensed Ohio attorney immediately as these types of cases could result in the loss of custody of your child. It is also important to understand that CPS may not necessarily be there to help you as the parent, as their job is to protect the child, and consider contacting an attorney prior to providing any statements or information (unless ordered by a Court).