Dept. of Human Services v. T.M.S.

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Family Law
  • Date Filed: 08-26-2015
  • Case #: A158383
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Ortega, P.J., for the Court; DeVore, J.; and Garrett, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

In juvenile dependency cases, it is not sufficient for a parent seeking reunification to use cooperation with provided services as basis for reversal of a court's decision to change a permanency plan from reunification to adoption.

In 2013 Child T was removed from Mother’s care as a result of Mother’s inability to parent T, stemming from Mother’s use of methamphetamine. As a result of the removal Mother went to counseling and medication management, and was evaluated by a psychologist. In 2014 T was returned to Mother’s care, but a month later Mother began using methamphetamine again. DHS allowed T to remain in the home, but upon Mother’s failure to meet certain conditions T was again removed from Mother’s care. Prior to the permanency hearing another psychological evaluation of Mother was ordered, which DHS scheduled to occur one week after the permanency hearing. Mother argued that the change in permanency plan should be delayed. The juvenile court changed Mother’s and T’s permanency plan from reunification to adoption, on the basis that Mother was not sufficiently engaged in the services provided to help her create a safe home for T. Mother and T appealed the decision, arguing that Mother had made significant process toward providing a safe home for T; the bond between Mother and T was strong enough to counter the filing of a termination petition, and thus would not be in T’s best interest; and the Department of Human Service (DHS) failed to update a psychological evaluation before the permanency hearing, and this failed to provide “sufficient services.” The Oregon Court of Appeals rejected Mother and T’s contentions and held that the juvenile court did not make its determination in error. AFFIRMED.

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