Dept. of Human Services v. R.S.

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Juvenile Law
  • Date Filed: 04-22-2015
  • Case #: A157630
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: DeVore, J. for the Court; Ortega, P.J.; & Garrett, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Under ORS 419.476(2)(a), in order to permit a child to return to a parent's home from foster care, a juvenile court must determine that a parent has made "reasonable efforts" and "sufficient progress" in creating a safe environment for the child.

The juvenile court issued a judgment for the child of R.S. (Mother) to have a permanency plan of “another planned permanent living arrangement” (APPLA), namely, permanent foster care. Mother appealed, arguing that the juvenile court’s findings were inconsistent, and, in the event those findings are considered consistent, that the juvenile court was mistaken in its judgment that the child was not safe to return to her care. The child was removed from mother’s care after DHS discovered that she had not supervised him properly despite his admissions of a desire to harm himself. Mother admitted that she was not equipped to understand his needs, and the child was placed in foster care where he has lived for one and a half years. At the juvenile court’s hearing, Mother sought reunification. At the hearing, evidence showed that Mother had made significant steps toward this goal, but there remained issues of trust between mother and the child, namely that Mother had great difficulty managing the child’s outbursts and emotional crises. On appeal, there remained a question as to whether the mother’s steps toward reunification constituted “reasonable efforts,” as determined by standards set out by DHS. The Court held that the juvenile court’s finding that Mother had not made “sufficient progress” toward reunification was not inconsistent, in that Mother had not made reasonable steps toward ensuring that her son would be safe in her care. AFFIRMED.

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