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Dept. of Human Services v. M. H.

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 08-14-2013
Case #: A152448
Schuman, P.J. for the Court; Wollheim, J.; and Duncan, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/A152448.pdf

Juvenile Law: Under ORS 419.476(5)(d) and ORS 419B.498(2), compelling reasons must be stated to terminate parental rights before a permanency judgment can be entered.

Mother and Father appealed two judgments made in a combined juvenile court hearing in which the court continued a permanency plan for adoption for child A and continued the permanency plan of reunification for child V.  Both A and V were removed from Mother and Father’s custody shortly after birth due to other children being removed from the home for standing issues.  Since that point, both children eventually ended up in the care of their maternal great aunt.  On appeal, Parents accused the juvenile court of failing to comply with the requirement in ORS 419B.476(5)(d) which requires compelling reasons under ORS 419B.498(2) to “defer the filing of petitions to terminate parental rights.” The Court held that there were no compelling reasons included. Additionally, and despite DHS’s argument to the contrary, the Court concluded that the error was not harmless as it could have had an effect on the outcome of the adoption and termination proceedings. Permanency judgment as to A reversed and remanded; otherwise affirmed.