O
hio Legislative Service Commission
122nd House Bill Analysis
H.B. 484
122nd General Assembly
(As Introduced)


Requires a court, when asked to modify or terminate a dispositional order placing a child in the custody or care of the child's grandparent, to consider whether it is in the best interest of the child to have the child remain with the grandparents instead of returning the child to the parents.
Requires the court, in determining the child's best interests, to consider the grandparents as having the same right to custody of the child as the parents.

CONTENT AND OPERATION

Background

(secs. 2151.353, 2151.415, and 2151.417)

Under current law, a juvenile court that adjudicates a child to be abused, neglected, dependent, unruly, or delinquent may issue any number of dispositional orders concerning the child including, for example, committing the child to the temporary custody "Temporary custody" means the legal custody of a child who is removed from home, which custody may be terminated at any time at the discretion of the court. of a public children services agency (PCSA), private child placing agency (PCPA), either parent, or a relative; awarding legal custody "Legal custody" means a legal status that vests in the custodian the right to have physical care and control of the child and to determine where and with whom the child shall live, and the right and duty to protect, train, and discipline the child and to provide the child with food, shelter, education, and medical care, all subject to any residual parental rights, privileges, and responsibilities. "Residual parental rights, privileges, and responsibilities" are those that remain with the natural parents after the transfer of legal custody and include reasonable visitation, consent to adoption, and the responsibility of support. of the child to either parent or any person who requests legal custody prior to the dispositional hearing; committing the child to the permanent custody "Permanent custody" is a legal status that vests in a PCSA or PCPA all parental rights, duties, and obligations, including the right to consent to adoption, and divests the natural parents or adoptive parents of all parental rights, privileges, and obligations, including all residual rights and obligations. of a PCSA or PCPA; or placing the child in long-term foster care with the PCSA or PCPA. "Long-term foster care" means that legal custody of the child is given to a PCSA or PCPA and the agency is permitted to make an appropriate placement of the child and to enter into a written long-term foster care agreement with a foster care provider or other person or agency with whom the child is placed.

After issuing a dispositional order, the court retains jurisdiction over the child until the child reaches age 18 (or age 21 if the child is mentally retarded, developmentally disabled, or physically impaired) or the child is adopted and a final decree of adoption is issued. The court, at any time, may amend any order of disposition that it issues. On the motion of a PCSA, PCPA, the Department of Human Services, or a party, the court may modify or terminate an order of disposition. The court must determine at the end of one year following the issuance of a temporary custody order whether to extend Temporary custody orders are effective for one year unless extended by the court. The order may be extended a maximum of two six-month periods. the order or issue a dispositional order replacing it. At the end of the last extension of temporary custody that may be granted, the court must issue a new dispositional order. The dispositional orders that can be issued include, for example, an order that the child be returned home or an order permanently terminating parental rights.

The bill

(secs. 2151.353, 2151.415, 2151.417, and 2151.42)

The bill provides that at any hearing in which a court is asked to modify or terminate The bill appears to make it possible to request the issuance of order that has already placed a child in the temporary custody, legal custody, or care of the grandparents. This is an error that needs a technical amendment to correct. Other slight errors also appear in the bill that should be corrected by a technical amendment. an order of disposition placing a child in the temporary custody, legal custody, or care of the child's grandparents, the court, in determining whether to return the child to the child's parents, must consider whether it is in the best interest of the child to remain with the grandparents. In determining the best interest of a child under this provision, the grandparents have the same right to custody of the child as the parents.

For purposes of the bill, a child is in the care of grandparents under an order of disposition if the order commits the child to the temporary or permanent custody of, or places the child in long-term family foster care with, a PCSA or PCPA that then places the child in the care of the grandparents.

COMMENT

In situations in which the parental rights of the parents have not been terminated and the court considers returning the child to the parents, the bill would give grandparents the same right to custody of the child as the parents and may serve as a barrier to returning the child to the parents. As a result, the bill may infringe on the constitutionally protected right of parents to the care, custody, and management of their children. Wisconsin v. Yoder, 406 U.S. 205 (1972); Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510 (1925). Thus, a court might find the bill unconstitutional.

HISTORY

ACTION DATE JOURNAL ENTRY

Introduced 06-11-97 p. 1091



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