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Department of Human Services v. S.M.

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 04-24-2014
Case #: S061386
Kistler, J. for the Court; Balmer, C.J.; Walters, J.; Linder, J.; Landau, J.; and Baldwin, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/S061386.pdf

Juvenile Law: Under ORS 419B.372 and ORS 419B.376, the Department of Human Services has the legislative authority to immunize children while acting as the children’s legal custodian.

Parents appealed a decision by the Court of Appeals which affirmed the trial court’s decision that the Department of Human Services (DHS) has the authority to immunize children against common diseases when they are acting in their capacity as guardian. DHS sent a caseworker to the family’s residence and observed various substandard living conditions. Additionally, the children had not been immunized for common childhood diseases which placed them and their peers at school in danger. The children were taken out of the family home and placed in the custody of DHS. Despite the mother’s religious objections, the court allowed the children to be immunized in accordance with the recommendations of medical providers. The Court held that under ORS 419B.372 and ORS 419B.376 DHS had the authority, as the children’s guardians by way of their wardship, to immunize the children. Affirmed.