Dept. of Human Services v. C. M.

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Juvenile Law
  • Date Filed: 03-22-2017
  • Case #: A162035
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Dehoog, J. for the Court; Sercombe, P.J.; & Flynn, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

For the purposes of establishing jurisdiction, a child can sleep through episodes of domestic violence and still be "exposed" to it if no one shields or protects the child from the activity unfolding around it.

In this juvenile dependency case, Father appealed the judgment assuming jurisdiction over his child, D. The juvenile court took jurisdiction based on its determination that D’s conditions or circumstances endangered his welfare because (1) Mother placed D under a threat of harm by exposing him to domestic violence in the home; (2) Mother failed to engage in services offered to her to help ensure D’s safety and continued to allow contact between Father and D despite Father’s impulsive and dangerous behavior; and (3) Father exposed D to domestic violence, placing D at a threat of harm. On appeal, Father raised five assignments of error, and argued that the trial court lacked evidence to establish jurisdiction. "A child's welfare is endangered if he is exposed 'to conditions or circumstances that present a current threat of serious loss or injury.'" "DHS has the burden to prove that there is a nexus connecting the parent's allegedly risk-causing conduct and the harm to the child and also that the risk of harm is present at the time of the hearing and not merely speculative." In regards to the domestic violence bases for jurisdiction, the Court concluded that a child can sleep through episodes of domestic violence and still be "exposed" to it if no one shields or protects the child from the activity unfolding around it. The Court also agreed with the trial court that even one episode of domestic violence can create a nexus to a general risk of harm to a child. Affirmed. 

Advanced Search