Department of Human Services v. H.H.

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Juvenile Law
  • Date Filed: 10-08-2014
  • Case #: A156147
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Lagesen, J. for the court; Duncan, P.J.; & Wollheim, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

When one parent, who otherwise appears to be a fit parent, allows their children to be home alone with a parent who has caused harm to a child, the totality of the circumstances tend to show that there will be a reasonable likelihood of additional harm to the child.

Appellant parents appeal a judgment of the juvenile court taking jurisdiction of their two sons. The court made this decision after finding that the father had intentionally injured one son in a manner that was considered to be child abuse and that the mother refused to acknowledge the father’s role in that incident, thereby suggesting that she was also unable to protect the children. The appellants claim that the juvenile court erred in determining that the injury was nonaccidental and that the children’s circumstances endangered them. On multiple occasions, when the children were left in their father’s care, one of the boys had to visit the hospital for trauma related incidents. The most recent injury, which the hospital professionals considered to be nonaccidental, resulted in seizures due to brain injuries. The father also has a history of assaultive behavior with the mother. Many expert witnesses testified on behalf of both parties at the juvenile hearing with the bulk of the testimony disfavoring the parent’s theory of an accidental injury. The Court, reviewing for the lower courts findings for legal error, found that the injury was nonaccidental. Also, under the totality of the circumstances, the Court found that there was a reasonable likelihood of harm to the welfare of the children. Affirmed.

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