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Dept. of Human Services v. D.M.

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 03-14-2012
Case #: A149499
Schuman, P. J. for the Court; Wollheim, J.; and Nakamoto, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/sites/Publications/A149499.pdf

Family Law: Exposure to a parent's unconventional but not unlawful lifestyle does not justify state intervention into a parent's fundamental right to the care, control, and custody of his or her children.

Following a shelter hearing, a juvenile court took custody of Mother's children because Mother failed to provide adequate supervision, and because mother's substance abuse impaired her ability to provide adequate care of her children. A review hearing referee denied Mother's move to terminate the wardship because her substance abuse persisted. Mother appealed, arguing that wardship must be dismissed unless DHS could prove that the alleged jurisdictional bases continued to pose a threat of serious loss or injury. The Court of Appeals concluded that at the time of the review hearing and based on the record, there was no evidence underlying the decision to maintain wardship over the children. The Court noted that "exposure to a parent's unconventional but not unlawful lifestyle ... and an unspecified amount of unsupervised access to the Internet do not justify state intervention into a parent's fundamental right to the care, control, and custody of her children". Reversed.