During an emergency hearing on Wednesday, December 16, Highland County Juvenile Court Judge Kevin Greer granted the Highland County Children Services Agency custody of an allegedly abused, neglected, and dependent 11-year-old and gave the agency a strong warning.
“Someone is getting seriously injured or worse because of our childcare choices,” Greer said during the hearing.
The case was brought to the juvenile court on Tuesday, December 15th. Greer then announced that he had issued “an immediate order” granting the agency temporary custody. Greer told the child’s mother that he would therefore need to hear the case on either Tuesday or Wednesday to decide whether or not to keep your child in the agency’s temporary custody until the case can be resolved.
Greer also informed the mother, who appeared without a lawyer, of her right to a lawyer, saying that in this case he would appoint Denny Kirk ad litem as the child’s guardian. The child’s father was absent, and the agency announced that his last known phone number had been disconnected. The mother told the judge that the father was “in and out” of the child’s life.
Greer was reviewing allegations in the complaint that the Hillsboro Police Department issued a “Report of Concern” to Highland County Child Protective Services on or about October 20. On that day, the child’s mother allegedly called in a troop for her boyfriend who allegedly used methamphetamine and “punched his face”, and the mother allegedly admitted to having used the drug herself. She also allegedly reported “domestic violence in the home,” the complaint read.
A “safety plan” was drawn up for the child, who stayed with someone else until November 18, when the child returned to the mother’s house. On November 23, the mother allegedly admitted to using methamphetamine again. The complaint states that a case officer “has determined that the usage has not taken place [the child] in the house, [the mother] wasn’t under the influence around [the child] and that there was another protective adult in the apartment. “
“The agency found that the house is not unsafe [the child]”It says in the complaint.
A mother’s drug test on December 1 was positive for methamphetamine on December 8. A second clerk then implemented a new safety plan and the child was moved to another home.
On December 15, in front of the child, a person attempted to “commit suicide through a cut throat under the influence of illegal substances.”
“After all of this, the agency went to court and felt that it was – finally – an appropriate time to ask the court to help and issue a temporary order,” Greer said.
The judge asked the mother if she was in favor of continuing the temporary custody decision. “Yes,” she said.
The law requires “reasonable efforts” to prevent a child from being removed from a home. “I usually ask childcare what efforts have been made,” Greer said. “It seems to me that too much effort has been put into keeping this child in your home.”
Greer said he will continue with the temporary order, but not until he continues to speak out strongly against the Highland County Children Services Agency and their “superiors”.
“I don’t directly blame this case worker,” Greer said. “I understand how this system works, or in this case doesn’t work. As a rule, orders are placed by higher authorities.
“What is extremely worrying to this court that this child had to be exposed to this type of behavior by an adult for two months, which resulted in a climax [the child] Witnessing another person who has cut their throat.
“Someone is seriously injured or worse because of the decisions our Children’s Fund makes. I think it is undeniable, even for the most progressive liberal thinkers, that this has gone way too far.
“This thought that people who use methamphetamine can be good, responsible parents to young children is a sucker. I know they disagree with me at Children Services, but this is a great example of why I chose my approach to drug addicts. You’re not acting rationally.
“It is only by the grace of the man above that this child is not seriously injured or worse, and how I feel about it needs to be recorded. If someone gets hurt – hopefully not – it’s not me.
“I think the people who run this agency need to look at it differently. I don’t care if you work from Hamilton County, Clermont County, or Highland County. You can’t let these innocent children keep being in the drug-infested environment. This case is a prime example of others I’ve seen and it needs to stop. It just has to be done before anyone gets hurt.
“Again, I don’t point my fingers at this social worker. If I’m not clear about how I feel about cases in general and this case in particular, probably confidential, I can make it much clearer to those responsible. If you want to talk to me about it, I’ll be happy to talk to you about it. “
Regardless, Greer told the child’s mother that the child would now be “far safer” in the agency’s care as they await a resolution to the case as he ordered even a supervised visit to the Family Advocacy Center.
“I agree with you as far as this is the safest place,” said the mother.
“I have a tremendous understanding of the obvious,” Greer replied. “I hope you get together, ma’am.”