Once a juvenile court has adjudicated a child abused, neglected, or dependent, the issue becomes the extent to which the state's parens patriae power should be used to intervene in the parent-child relationship. Authorities are in agreement that children should be protected from harm, but they differ regarding what harms should be protected against and the means of providing that protection.
The Ohio General Assembly recently enacted House Bill 6951 to provide guidelines for this complex interrelationship between parental autonomy in raising children and the state's obligation to protect children. In focusing on the reunification of the family, while providing a viable alternative if reunification cannot succeed, H.B. 695 provides answers to many of Ohio's child custody problems. This note will analyze selected portions of the bill regarding temporary and permanent custody proceedings for abused, neglected and dependent children.
In Ohio, the typical child abuse, neglect or dependency case is initiated by a complaint9 to either the local law enforcement authorities or children's services agency. An investigation to determine the validity of the complaint is required to be made within twenty-four hours. If a determination is made that immediate removal from the parent's custody is necessary to protect the child, the law enforcement officer is empowered to act accordingly. If immediate removal is not deemed necessary, but the child is suspected of having been abused or neglected, the children's service agency, acting through the county prosecutor's office, may file a complaint with the juvenile court. The complaint will ask that the court make a determination that the child was abused or neglected. The party filing the complaint must show by clear and convincing evidence that the child was abused, neglected, or dependent.
DeZarn, Marcell Neil
"H.B. 695: Updating Ohio's Temporary and Permanent Custody Procedures for Child Abuse, Neglect and Dependency Cases,"
University of Dayton Law Review: Vol. 7:
1, Article 18.
Available at: https://ecommons.udayton.edu/udlr/vol7/iss1/18