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Dept. of Human Services v. D.W.C.

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 08-14-2013
Case #: A152677
Egan, J. for the Court; Armstrong, P.J.; and Nakamoto, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/A152677.pdf

Juvenile Law: To change a permanency plan from reunification to guardianship, the parent must fail to make sufficient progress in his or her relationship with the child to remove the jurisdictional basis.

Father appealed the juvenile court’s decision to change his daughter’s permanency plan from reunification to guardianship. A was placed under the jurisdiction of the Department of Human Services (DHS) because of the mother’s actions and because A’s father has had “limited contact with her for an extended period of time.” A’s father had never met A before the involvement of DHS and had been living in Oklahoma. Father only visited A twice in the two years, failed to understand A's special needs, and discontinued telephone calls with A. Under ORS 419B.476(2)(a), to change a permanency plan from reunification to another plan, the juvenile court must find that DHS made reasonable efforts towards reunification and that the parent has failed to make sufficient progress in establishing a relationship. The juvenile court ruled that A would remain in her foster home because the jurisdictional basis of “limited contact with her father” still remained. The Court of Appeals agreed. The Court found that A would benefit from remaining with her half-sister, who also lives in the foster home. A would also benefit from permanency as soon as possible, and the father has failed to make sufficient progress in building a relationship after two years. A’s welfare and safety is also at issue. The father fails to recognize the seriousness of A’s special needs and the need for “line-of-sight” supervision, mainly due to the lack of a relationship.  Affirmed.