Determining the Best Interests of the Child - Ohio

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Citation: Ann. Code § 2151.414(D)(1) 

In determining the best interests of a child at a hearing, the court shall consider all relevant factors, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • The interaction and interrelationship of the child with the child's parents, siblings, relatives, foster caregivers, and out-of-home providers, and any other person who may significantly affect the child
  • The wishes of the child, as expressed directly by the child or through the child's guardian ad litem, with due regard for the maturity of the child
  • The custodial history of the child, including whether the child has been in the temporary custody of one or more public children's services agencies or private child-placing agencies for 12 or more months of a consecutive 22-month period ending on or after March 18, 1999 
  • The child's need for a legally secure permanent placement and whether that type of placement can be achieved without a grant of permanent custody to the agency
  • Whether any of the factors in § 2151.414(E)(7)-(11) apply in relation to the parents and child 

Citation: Ann. Code § 2151.414(E)(7)-(11)

In making a best interests determination, the court shall consider whether any of the following factors apply:

  • The parent has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to one of the following:
    • Murder or voluntary manslaughter and the victim was a sibling of the child or another child who lived in the parent's household at the time of the offense
    • Assault and the victim of the offense is the child, a sibling of the child, or another child who lived in the parent's household at the time of the offense
    • Torture or cruel abuse of a child, and the child, a sibling of the child, or another child who lived in the parent's household at the time of the offense is the victim 
    • A sexual assault, as described in § 2907.02, et seq., and the victim of the offense is the child, a sibling of the child, or another child who lived in the parent's household at the time of the offense
    • Human trafficking or compelling or promoting prostitution, and the victim of the offense is the child, a sibling of the child, or another child who lived in the parent's household at the time of the offense
    • A conspiracy or attempt to commit an offense described in this section
  • The parent has repeatedly withheld medical treatment or food from the child when the parent has the means to provide the treatment or food.
  • The parent has placed the child at substantial risk of harm two or more times due to alcohol or drug abuse and has rejected treatment two or more times or refused to participate in further treatment two or more times after agreeing to a case plan.
  • The parent has abandoned the child.
  • The parent has had parental rights involuntarily terminated with respect to a sibling of the child, and the parent has failed to provide clear and convincing evidence to prove that, notwithstanding the prior termination, the parent can provide a legally secure permanent placement and adequate care for the health, welfare, and safety of the child.

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