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Dept. of Human Services v. K.L.M.

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 12-18-2013
Case #: A153861
Wollheim, J. for the Court; Schuman, P.J.; and Duncan, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/A153861.pdf

Juvenile Law: A voluntarily untreated mental illness that is seriously detrimental to the child, may support a finding of parental unfitness and termination.

Mother appealed from a juvenile court judgment that terminated her parental rights to her daughter, S, because of unfitness. Mother refused DHS-recommended treatment for her mental health condition, which consequently worsened. The trial court, in terminating Mother’s parental rights, explained that Mother’s untreated mental illness was “seriously detrimental” to S. On appeal, Mother argued (1) evidence was insufficient to show unfitness by reason of conduct or condition that was seriously detrimental to S at the time of the proceeding (2) the juvenile court erred in finding that integration of S into mother's home was improbable within a reasonable time and (3) the trial court erred in determining that termination of parental rights is in the best interest of the child. The Court of Appeals reviewed de novo and first that Mother’s mental illness was seriously detrimental to S and, secondly, because Mother continues to refuse treatment, her condition is unlikely to change and allow S to integrate into Mother's home. Third, S testified that she would like to live permanently with her adoptive family with whom she had been living for 21 months, so this would provide permanency and stability and be in S’s best interest. Affirmed.