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Dept. of Human Services v. L.A.S.

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 10-23-2013
Case #: A153914
Duncan, J. for the Court; Schuman, P.J.; and Wollheim, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/A153914.pdf

Juvenile Law: Under ORS 419B.476, there is no requirement that the juvenile court consider whether a child can be safely returned to the parent within a reasonable time, before changing a permanency plan from reunification to adoption.

Mother appealed the juvenile court’s judgment to change the permanency plan, for her two children, from reunification to adoption. The juvenile court concluded that the mother had not made sufficient progress despite the Department of Human Services’ reasonable efforts to reunify the family. The juvenile court had jurisdiction because of the mother’s use of alcohol and/or controlled substances. At the time of the permanency hearing, she had been clean, sober, employed, and had housing for the past six months. Mother made two alternative arguments on appeal: (1) that she had made sufficient progress at the time of the permanency hearing to allow the children to return home, or (2) that the children could return within a reasonable time, based on her progress. The Court of Appeals rejected both arguments. First, she did not preserve her ability to appeal regarding immediate reunification because she asked for a “90-day extension” to continue to make progress. Second, ORS 419B.476 does not require the juvenile court to consider if the children can safely return “in a reasonable time” before changing a permanency plan from reunification to adoption. The record supported the finding that the mother’s progress was belated and incomplete. Affirmed.