COLUMBUS — Judge Jeffrey Beigel of Shelby County Common Pleas Probate and Juvenile Court was a lecturer at the annual Judicial Domestic Relations & Juvenile Conference in Columbus, on May 2.
Beigel addressed a number of hot topics, including the impact of the Truancy Law, HB 410, that was effective August 2017.
“We’ve now had time to see if this new approach to truancy is working for our community; based on our court’s experience, it is not,” he said. “The legislation was enacted with big city schools in mind and is not working well for our local schools that must also comply with the same requirements. Other communities our size have voiced similar concerns.
Beigel said schools are now required to take a significant number of internal steps to resolve truancy issues before a problem can be referred to juvenile court. As a result, he said, school officials are routinely finding it difficult to refer matters to the court so that problems can be addressed in a timely manner.
“Prior to the adoption of HB 410, our juvenile court and local schools worked well together to address persistent truancy problems and, when needed, the court was able to order counseling , diversion, probation, and other effective methods to support the school’s efforts,” Beigel continued. “The gauntlet of procedures now required before a school can refer a problem to juvenile court has made it difficult for us to be a needed part of the solution early in the process. Until a case can be referred to juvenile court, we just can’t do what may need to be done to assist a school’s efforts and get a truant child back on track.”
Beigel noted that the Ohio Judicial Conference’s Juvenile Law & Procedure Committee is working on proposed recommendations to address the issue. As a member of the Committee, Beigel works closely with judges and legislative liaisons to make recommendations on issues affecting juvenile court.
Beigel also addressed newly enacted HB 595 and its affect on Juvenile Court jurisdiction and case management.
“We now have new legislation that adds a significant level of technical complexity to coordinating custody and support matters with the Domestic Relations Court,” he said. “This is state-wide legislation to solve problems that we were not having in Shelby County. The Juvenile Law & Procedure Committee is addressing proposed amendments to resolve the current confusion over its implementation.”
Another hot topic was Ohio’s recent adoption of Medical Marijuana Laws and its affect on Children Services cases.
“Regardless of the substance, children should not be exposed to misuse in the home,” Beigel said. “We addressed issues on how best to balance and verify the legitimate medical needs of prescribed medical marijuana users and the need for a healthy environment for a child. It’s important to remember that the right to any prescribed medication does not mean a person is entitled to the care of a child if misuse or exposure may adversely affect the child.”