Abuse, Neglect & Dependency

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 Child

A child who exhibits evidence of physical or mental injury other than by accident. Ohio Revised Code §2151.031

Neglected Child

A 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 Child

A 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.


The information contained on this web site is not legal advice, nor should it substitute for the assistance of a qualified attorney. Good legal assistance can speed up the court process and prevent costly legal errors.

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