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Abuse, neglect, and dependency cases are frequently associated because the ultimate disposition of these types of cases can be similar, but are distinctly different with separate statutory definitions for each of the case types.
Abused ChildA child who exhibits evidence of physical or mental injury other than by accident. Ohio Revised Code §2151.031
Neglected ChildA child who is abandoned by the child's parents or who lacks adequate care because of the parents' failure to provide care. Ohio Revised Code §2151.03
Dependent ChildA child is without adequate parental care, such as to warrant the State assuming the child's guardianship for the child's protection. Ohio Revised Code §2151.04
An abuse, neglect, or dependency action commences with the State filing a complaint in court, alleging that a child is abused, neglected, and/or dependent. Along with the complaint, the State may seek a temporary order from the court removing the child from a dangerous environment or for the purpose of obtaining medical treatment.
Parents or guardians are notified of the filing of the legal action and receive a copy of the complaint along with any motions for temporary orders. The court schedules the case for an adjudication hearing where the court will determine whether the allegations of the complaint are true.
If a juvenile court finds that the child is abused, neglected, and/or dependent, the court has broad discretion to fashion a disposition which protects the child. Among the many dispositional alternatives available, the court may place the child in protective supervision, into the custody of the Children's Services Board, into the custody of a relative or foster parent, or the court may impose a planned permanent living arrangement.
A Safety Plan is a specific and concrete strategy for controlling threats of serious harm to a child(ren) or supplementing protective capacities, which is implemented immediately when a family's protective capacities are not sufficient to manage immediate safety threats for at least one child in the family. There are three types of Safety Plans: In-Home Safety Plan, Out-of-Home Safety Plan, and Legally Authorized Out-of-Home Placement. Once the decision is made that a Safety Plan is necessary, the Safety Plan is immediately developed and implemented.
In-Home Safety Plans
If an In-Home Safety Plan is active, the caseworker must make, at a minimum, weekly home visits with the family to monitor the Safety Plan. During the home visits, the caseworker will make face-to-face contact with each child and parent, guardian, or custodian involved in the Safety Plan.
Out-of-Home Safety Plans
To monitor an Out-of-Home Safety Plan, weekly contact with the children or the persons responsible for the action steps by either telephone or face-to-face contact is required. Additionally, face-to-face contact with each child involved is required every other week to monitor an Out-of-Home Safety Plan.