Dept. of Human Services v. A.L.

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Juvenile Law
  • Date Filed: 01-07-2015
  • Case #: A156911
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Ortega, P.J. for the Court; DeVore, J.; & Garrett, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Under ORS 419B.100(1)(c), parents entrusting the primary care of their children with paternal grandparents who do not pose a current threat is not a basis for asserting jurisdiction over children.

A and E lived in their paternal grandparents house with their Mother and Father, but were essentially raised by their grandparents. When E was born, both he and Mother tested positive for methamphetamine. Eleven months later, H was born and also found positive for methamphetamine. The Department of Human Services (DHS) filed dependency petitions for all three children, alleging that Mother and Father could not safely parent her children due to substance abuse, lack of parenting skill, and leaving the children with unsafe persons, namely their paternal grandparents who were later indicted for racketeering and conspiracy to commit unlawful manufacture of marijuana. The juvenile court found all allegations proven by DHS. Both Mother and Father appealed separately, arguing DHS failed to prove its allegations because parents were not the primary caregivers for the children. The Court held, under the totality of the circumstances, that DHS did not present sufficient evidence to prove a reasonable likelihood of harm to the children, and could not identify any harm caused by living with paternal grandparents. Reversed and remanded.

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