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

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 02-29-2012
Case #: A147854
Wollheim, J. for the Court; Schuman, P.J.; and Nakamoto, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/A147854.pdf

Family Law: A parent’s future availability as a fit parental resource when assessed at the termination of parental rights hearing must be reasonable when weighed against the specific and immediate needs of the parent’s children.

A mother of five children with a recent history of opiate abuse challenged the termination of her parental rights. The trial court found her unfit due to her drug dependence and the documented neglect of her young children. She alleged that, at the actual time of the termination hearing, she was fit due to her participation in out-patient drug rehabilitation programs, but the court disagreed. This dependence, combined with her history of abuse, led the Court of Appeals to evaluate the prospect of the mother being able to recover and to allow the children to reintegrate into the home within a reasonable amount of time. The Court found reintegration unlikely for at least seven months, which was unsuitable for the childrens' needs for permanency and lasting attachments. Ultimately, the Court held that, given the childrens' strong bonds with each other and the mother’s inability to parent them simultaneously, termination of parental rights was in their best interest to allow for an adoptive placement together. Affirmed.