Dept. of Human Services v. E.N.

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Family Law
  • Date Filed: 08-19-2015
  • Case #: A157913
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Egan, J. for the Court; Armstrong, P.J.; & Haselton, C.J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Parental rights may be terminated if a parent is determined to be unfit as a parent, if integration of the child into the parent's care is improbable due to conduct or conditions not likely to change, and if termination is in the best interests of the child.

The Department of Human Services (DHS) filed to terminate Mother’s parental rights to child A. The juvenile court denied this petition; both DHS and A appealed the judgment, arguing that Mother is “unfit by reason of conduct or condition serious detrimental to” parent A. At the termination hearing, DHS produced a volume of evidence concerning how Mother was unfit to be a parent. This evidence included the “addictive or habitual use of . . . controlled substances to the extent that parental ability has been substantially impaired,” “lack of effort or failure to obtain and maintain a suitable or stable living situation for the child so that return of the child to the parent is possible,” and “failure to present a viable plan for the return of the child to the parent’s care and custody,” among other evidence. Since A’s removal from Mother’s care, A exhibited difficulty acclimating to her changing foster care situation, and required further mental health counseling concerning separation anxiety. DHS and A appealed the decision of the juvenile court. The Oregon Court of Appeals found that Mother “engaged in conduct . . . that is seriously detrimental to A.” The Court concluded that, because mother’s conduct indicated that she was not able to provide the instability which A required, Mother was unable to sufficiently parent A. Because Mother was unfit and because it was not in A’s best interest to integrate her into Mother’s life, the Court held that termination of Mother’s parental rights was in A’s best interests. Reversed.

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