Dept. of Human Services v. L.C.

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Family Law
  • Date Filed: 12-24-2014
  • Case #: A157120
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Duncan, P.J. for the court; Lagesen, J.; & De Muniz, S.J.
  • Full Text Opinion

To have continued jurisdiction over a child there needs to be current threat of danger or serious loss of injury that is based in facts, and not speculation. The factual basis “cannot be based on a parent's past problems, absent evidence that the problems persist and endanger the child.”

L.C. appealed a judgment continuing jurisdiction over her children. Initially jurisdiction was established due to domestic abuse by the father and the family's homelessness. The mother has custody of the children and has attended domestic abuse counseling. DHS argued that the court should continue jurisdiction because Father is still attending domestic abuse classes and the family intends to reunite once his probation is over. DHS contended that mother is unlikely to protect her children from a possible re-occurrence of abuse and that continued jurisdiction is therefore necessary. However, DHS believed that the mother was doing a great job of parenting and solely asked for continued jurisdiction pending the father's completion of abuse counseling classes and possible reunification. The Court decided that while the mother did not protect the children in the past, continued jurisdiction cannot be based on the mother's past conduct. She has proven her ability to care for her children and that she understands the effects an abusive environment can have on children. There is no individualized evidence showing that the mother will not protect her kids in the future. Reversed and remanded.

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