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Dept. of Human Services v. N. T.

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 01-25-2012
Case #: A148730
Duncan, J. for the Court; Armstrong, P.J.; & Walters, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/A148730.pdf

Family Law: A Juvenile Court cannot rely on extrinsic facts outside of its jurisdictional judgment when it assesses a permanency plan where such a plan does not implicitly or explicitly encompass those extrinsic facts.

Department of Human Services (DHS) filed a dependency petition against the mother and father of two children, Mu and Me after an incident on March 13, 2010. At the time of the incident police were called and father was arrested on an active warrant, while mother was hospitalized overnight in a mental facility. The juvenile court gained jurisdiction over Mu and Me and determined after an evaluation that Mu was possibly subjected to sexual abuse. A year after the incident, a permanency hearing by the juvenile court switched the permanency plan from reunification to adoption when it found that mother and father had not made sufficient progress toward making a safe home environment for Mu and Me. On appeal, the parents argued that it was error for the juvenile court to consider extrinsic facts – those facts relating to Mu's alleged sexual abuse – as a factor in the permanency plan for the children, because they had no opportunity to contest the allegations. The Court of Appeals held that the juvenile court erred in relying on facts extrinsic to its jurisdictional judgment because the pendency hearing did not implicitly or explicitly encompass allegations of sexual abuse. Reversed and remanded.