Seven of 11 'caged kids' steps away from getting new families

Date: 2008-02-23

HEATHER CHAPIN-FOWLER

The court reviewed each of the 11 children's cases Wednesday during a closed door hearing, according to Administrator Chris Mushett.

While the court ruled the public shouldn't be permitted into the hearing, it agreed to release information nonspecific to the children's genders and ages.

Seven of the children are living with the families who want to adopt them, according to the court.

One of the children is living in Georgia, one is in Minnesota, two are in Pennsylvania, two are in Huron County and one is in Erie County, the court also said.

The remaining four children aren't in future adoptive homes. Instead, two are still living in Ohio but in "therapeutic foster homes where they are receiving intensive supervision and treatment for their behavioral and psychological needs," according to the court.

One of the four children doesn't want to be adopted again and "is content to stay in his current foster home until he becomes emancipated. This foster family has consented to his remaining with them until he emancipates," the court also stated.

Another of the four children is in a home where another household member's medical issues are preventing an adoption from being considered, although this child has "bonded well" with the family.

A volunteer who works with the court to represent the best interests of the children expressed concern to the court about two of the seven children placed in homes of families intent upon adopting them. These two children lived together in the same foster home after their removal from the Gravelle home in September 2005 and are bonded with each other.

One of the children continues to reside with this foster parent who will file an adoption petition. The other child is now living in a Pennsylvania adoptive home. The volunteer guardian ad litem will travel to the Pennsylvania home and attempt to discover the true wishes and concerns of the child and report her findings to the court in writing, the court stated.

During the hearing Wednesday, the court found the Huron County Department of Job and Family Services was exercising reasonable efforts to find permanent homes for the children and to provide for their needs.

The court scheduled another hearing to review the children's cases on May 29.

Meanwhile, Michael and Sharen Gravelle, who lost custody of the children through a juvenile court ruling, have not served their two-year prison sentences for abusing the children because their case is still in the appeal process.

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