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Dept. of Human Services v. J.R.F.

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 02-16-2012
Case #: S059732
Landau, J. for the Court; En Banc.
Full Text Opinion: http://courts.oregon.gov/sites/Publications/S059732.pdf

Family Law: The Supreme Court has an obligation to consider relevant context when interpreting a statute, regardless of whether it was cited by any party. The relevant context includes ORS 419B.090(4) which provides that the due process rights of parents are always implicated in the construction and application of the provisions of ORS chapter 419.

Juvenile Court ordered father not to interfere with the ability of a child who is a ward of the court to visit other children of the father that are not wards of the court. Court of Appeals upheld the order and father contends the Court of Appeals erred because the order at issue does not involve visitation by the parents or siblings. Father argued that the court's reliance on ORS 419B.337(3) was misplaced because it pertains solely to the issue of whether to allow visitation of the ward by the ward's parents or siblings. DHS contended that the juvenile code, taken as a whole, suggests that the court has the authority to enter any order it deems necessary to the welfare of the child in its jurisdiction. The Oregon Supreme Court concluded that the record in the case was inadequate to support the order at issue. The Supreme Court has an obligation to interpret the statutes correctly, which includes an obligation to consider relevant context, regardless of whether it was cited by any party. The relevant context in this case includes ORS 419B.090(4) which provides that the due process rights of parents are always implicated in the construction and application of the provisions of ORS 419. Reversed and vacated to juvenile court.