In Allen County, Ohio, the Children Services Board ("the Agency") is represented by the County Prosecutor in all cases filed in juvenile court that allege that a child is neglected, abused, and/or dependent. The Revised Code defines a "neglected child" in section 2141.03(A) as any child:
- Who is abandoned by the child's parents, guardian, or custodian;
- Who lacks adequate parental care because of the faults or habits of the child's parents, guardian, or custodian;
- Whose 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;
- Whose parents, guardian, or custodian neglects the child or refuses to provide the special care made necessary by the child's mental condition;
- Whose parents, legal guardian, or custodian have placed or attempted to place the child in violation of sections 5103.16 and 5103.17 of the Revised Code;
- Who, 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;
- Who is subjected to out-of-home care child neglect.
The Revised Code further defines an "abused child," in section 2151.031, as any child who:
- 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;
- 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;
- 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. Except as provided in division (D) of this section, a child exhibiting evidence of corporal punishment or other physical disciplinary measure by a parent, guardian, custodian, person having custody or control, or person in loco parentis of a child is not an abused child under this division if the measure is not prohibited under section 2919.22 of the Revised Code.
- Because of the acts of his parents, guardian, or custodian, suffers physical or mental injury that harms or threatens to harm the child's health or welfare.
- Is subjected to out-of-home care child abuse.
In addition, R.C. 2151.04 defines a "dependent child" as any child:
- Who is homeless or destitute or without adequate parental care, through no fault of the child's parents, guardian, or custodian;
- Who lacks adequate parental care by reason of the mental or physical condition of the child's parents, guardian, or custodian;
- Whose condition or environment is such as to warrant the state, in the interests of the child, in assuming the child's guardianship;
- To whom both of the following apply:
- 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 that a sibling of the child or any other child who resides in the household is an abused, neglected, or dependent child.
- Because of the circumstances surrounding the abuse, neglect, or dependency of the sibling or other child and the other conditions in the household of the child, the child is in danger of being abused or neglected by that parent, guardian, custodian, or member of the household.
When the Agency receives an allegation that a child is neglected, abused, or dependent, it screens the information and may initiate an investigation into the matter. If the Agency's investigation concludes that the allegation of neglect, abuse, and/or dependency is indicated or substantiated, the assistant prosecutors assigned to represent the Agency then determine whether to file a complaint in juvenile court regarding that child.
Once a complaint is filed, the assistant prosecutors represent the Agency at all stages of the litigation from adjudication to disposition to the ultimate termination of the case. Adjudication involves a judicial determination as to whether the child who is at issue in the complaint is neglected, abused, and/or dependent. Once an adjudication of neglect, abuse, and/or dependency is made, the juvenile court sets a dispositional hearing to determine the child's custodial status. For example, the court may elect to allow the child to live with a parent(s) but place the child under the Agency's protective supervision or may elect to place the child in the Agency's temporary custody until reunification with the parent(s) can be achieved. In certain circumstances, either at the time of disposition or later during the Agency's involvement with the case, the juvenile court may award permanent custody of the child to the Agency, which also results in the termination of the parents' parental rights and responsibilities as to that child.
In the year 2011, 211 new complaints alleging neglect, abuse, and/or dependency were filed in Allen County Juvenile Court by the Prosecutor's Office on behalf of the Agency. Additionally, during the year 2011, the Agency had 183 children in its custody and 239 children under the Agency's protective supervision.
For more information contact:
Allen County Children Services
123 West Spring Street
Lima, Ohio 45801