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Dept. of Human Services v. G.L.H.

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 12-18-2013
Case #: A154396
Schuman, P.J. for the Court; Wollheim, J.; and Duncan, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/A154396.pdf

Juvenile Law: ORS 419B.476(2)(a) requires that the juvenile court determine whether DHS has made reasonable efforts and whether the parent has made sufficient progress to make it possible for the ward to return safely home.

The Department of Human Services (DHS) appealed a permanency judgment dismissing the state's wardship over mother's six-year-old child. The child joined in this contention. After multiple calls to DHS expressing neglect, the child was taken into protective custody and the juvenile court took jurisdiction. The child was placed in foster care and a permanency hearing was held in March 2013. At the hearing, the juvenile court found that DHS had made reasonable efforts and the mother had not made sufficient progress toward meeting expectations. In a second permanency hearing in May, the court found that the mother had made sufficient progress. The juvenile court found an inconsistency between the findings and the judgment, then dismissed the wardship and DHS's legal custody and guardianship. DHS appealed on the basis that the court erred and the Court agreed. The only evidence contained in the record was that although mother's meth abuse had decreased and her housing situation was stabilized, her mental health problems continued to affect her ability to care for the child. The Court held the juvenile courts finding was not legally sufficient to support that the mother had made sufficient progress for the child to safely return home. Reversed and Remanded.