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Dept. of Human Services v. J. F. D.

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 03-27-2013
Case #: A152075
Schuman, P.J. for the Court; Wollheim, J.; and Duncan, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/A152075.pdf

Juvenile Law: Under ORS 419B.340(1), DHS's reasonable efforts at the dispositional stage must be assessed as to each parent.

Father appealed the juvenile court's dispositional judgment. Father and Mother are the parents of D, who was four years old when the Department of Human Services (DHS) became involved with the family. Shortly thereafter, Father moved to Kentucky and Mother voluntarily placed the child in a foster home. DHS asserted jurisdiction over D and sought the dispositional hearing. Father argued that DHS's efforts were unreasonable because it never provided him with any services nor contacted him in the seven months between the filing of the jurisdiction petition and the dispositional hearing. DHS responded that, under ORS 419B.340(1), efforts need only be reasonable with regard to the totality of the circumstances and that reasonable efforts specifically tailored to one parent need not be considered. The juvenile court agreed with DHS. Father appealed. On appeal, the Court rejected DHS's argument. The Court held that reasonable efforts during the dispositional stage is no different from other dependency stages and that each parent is owed the same reasonable efforts by DHS. The Court found that particular circumstances may help determine what is reasonable in a given case, however, in this case, DHS's efforts regarding Father were unreasonable. Reversed and remanded.