Temporary custody of an infant who has been in the custody of the county under emergency order of the court for three months has been granted to Children Services.
According to Highland County Assistant Prosecutor Jim Roeder, the mother of the child tested positive for opiates, methamphetamine, cocaine, and Ecstasy on the day of the child’s birth in August.
While the newborn was removed from the mother on that day, the child’s custody has been with Children Services through emergency order since then as the mother’s whereabouts became unknown.
The mother is now in jail in another county and facing felony charges there, but was brought to the Highland County Juvenile Court on Tuesday where she agreed that it was in the best interest of the child to be in the temporary custody of the Children Services agency.
A case plan is filed with the court, which she will be required to successfully work through it in order to regain custody of the baby.
She told judge Kevin Greer that she is awaiting a bed at a residential treatment facility, with treatment expected to last four to six months.
While the temporary custody is set to expire in a year’s time, the judge said the mother could ask for a review at any point during that year.
In an emergency hearing, temporary custody of a teenager was granted to the county after the mother agreed that arrangement was what was best for her child.
According to the complaint filed, in recent weeks the teen found the mother unresponsive, the result of a drug overdose.
When the incident occurred, the teen was initially placed with relatives through a safety plan. But Greer said the mother contacted the court this week to inform that the arrangement wasn’t working out and that the child was having problems and refusing to go to school.
The mother emotionally described to the court the hard times the family has fallen on, and said that she and her child both need help.
Children Services will determine the placement of the child, but Greer told the mother that the court would also consider other family members for the teen to be placed with.
The matter is set for further hearing in December.
In another hearing, a 13-year-old boy admitted to a felony burglary charge and to a misdemeanor assault charge. Misdemeanor charges of theft and domestic violence were dismissed as per an agreement reached with the state.
Going along with the agreement, Greer ordered the boy to have no contact with the burglary victims, and placed him on community control indefinitely. Greer ordered a suspended commitment to the Department of Youth Services (DYS), which is the prison system for youth. The minimum one-year commitment will remain suspended as long as the 13-year-old does not violate any laws, the terms of his probation, or the orders of the court.
Greer cautioned the boy to be diligent about choosing his companions in the future, stating that the person he was with when the offenses occurred “is a real bad character.”
Reach Angela Shepherd at 937-393-3456, ext. 1681, or on Twitter @wordyshepherd.