Dept. of Human Services v. M. S.

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Juvenile Law
  • Date Filed: 03-29-2017
  • Case #: A162983
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Lagesen, J. for the Court; Ortega, P.J.; & Egan, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

The party who proposes a change in the permanency plan from reunification to adoption has the burden to prove that the child "could not be returned to [parent] within a reasonable time." Dept. of Human Services v. S. J. M., 283 Or App 367, 394 (2017).

M, a two-year-old ward of the State, appealed a permanency judgment that continued the plan as reunification with Mother. M assigned error to the trial court's finding that she could be returned to Mother's care "within a reasonable period of time." M argued that there was insufficient evidence to support the reunification plan. As the proponent of changing the permanency plan to adoption, M had the burden to prove that the change was warranted. As part of that burden, M needed to prove "that M could not be returned to mother within a reasonable time." Dept. of Human Services v. S. J. M., 283 Or App 367, 394 (2017). The Court held that even if the evidence presented at the hearing did not support the trial court's finding that M could be returned to Mother within a reasonable period of time, it could not reverse the trial court's judgment. In order to reverse, the record would need to prove the contrary statement, that M could not be returned within a reasonable time, and the record did not prove that. Affirmed.

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