Department of Human Service v. A. B.

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Juvenile Law
  • Date Filed: 05-20-2015
  • Case #: A157767
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Tookey, J. for the Court; Sercombe, P.J.; & Hadlock, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Under ORS 419B.100(1)(c), the Court must analyze the totality of the child’s circumstances, including whether she is being cared for by someone other than the parents. DHS must prove a nexus between the parents’ risky conduct and risk of harm to the child when the child is in the care of another in order to exercise jurisdiction over the child.

The parents of N appealed a judgment of the juvenile court taking jurisdiction over their one year old daughter, N. Both parents used drugs and the father also had a criminal record. N was cared for by her grandmother and aunt. DHS argued that the parents’ risky behavior with regards to N’s half-sister, K, demonstrated that if N returned to the parents’ custody she would be at risk, despite the fact that N lived with her grandmother and aunt. The Court said that the appropriate test was to look at the child’s circumstances and determine harm from there, not to look at the parents’ circumstances regardless of the child’s living arrangements. Under ORS 419B.100(1), there is a list of eight circumstances where DHS may sue for jurisdiction over the child. Pursuant to 419B.100(2), if one of those circumstances is present, with whom the child resides does not matter. Accordingly, the Court held that DHS was required to prove, in this case, that the child’s condition or circumstance actually endangered the welfare of the child, taking into account her residence with other relatives and limited contact she had with her parents. Without such a nexus, DHS cannot exercise jurisdiction over N. Reversed.

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