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Dept of Human Services v. J.N.

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 11-15-2012
Case #: A150405
Ortega, P.J. for the Court; Hadlock, J.; and Sercombe, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/A150405.pdf

Juvenile Law: Before denying a permanency plan of reunification, the juvenile court must establish that the evidence shows the plan will cause severe mental and emotional harm to the child.

Father appealed the juvenile court's order denying his motion to dismiss jurisdiction over his child, M, and the judgment of the Court that the permanency plan for the child was guardianship. Father had no contact with M until she was eight years old and she had been placed in foster care. After conclusively establishing paternity, Father signed an admission that the juvenile court jurisdiction over M was appropriate. Thereafter, Father established a relationship with M and moved the juvenile court for dismissal of jurisdiction over M. Father and DHS argued at the permanency hearing that the permanency plan should be changed to reunification. M argued that the plan should be changed to guardianship. The juvenile court changed the plan to guardianship and Father appealed arguing that the juvenile court lacked jurisdiction because he had made efforts to establish a relationship with M. Father also argued that the facts were sufficient to demonstrate reunification was proper. M argued that reunification would result in severe mental and emotional harm. The Court of Appeals held that the Juvenile Court had proper jurisdiction under the facts. The Court further held that the record did not support a finding that the permanency plan of guardianship was proper. The Court did not believe the evidence demonstrated M would face severe mental and emotional harm by being placed with her father. Affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded.