Dept. of Human Services v. E. M.

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Juvenile Law
  • Date Filed: 07-02-2014
  • Case #: A155322
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Ortega, P.J. for the court; DeVore, J.; & Garrett, J.

Under ORS 419B.100(1)(c), to obtain exclusive jurisdiction of a child in juvenile court, a nexus between a current risk causing circumstance and risk of harm to the child must be established.

E.M. appealed the juvenile court decision to give jurisdiction of her daughter to the Department of Human Services (DHS). DHS petitioned for jurisdiction over E.M.’s daughter because of E.M.’s history of illegal drug use. Under ORS 419B.100(1)(c), the juvenile court has exclusive jurisdiction over persons under 18 years of age whose condition or circumstances create a reasonable likelihood of harm to their welfare. The juvenile court held that the DHS met their burden of proving a nexus between the allegedly risk-causing circumstances (i.e. E.M.’s history of drug use) and the risk of harm to her child. The Court held that in the absence of any evidence that the risk is on-going at the time of the hearing, past drug use on its own is insufficient to prove a reasonable likelihood of harm to the child. Accordingly, the juvenile court erred in giving jurisdiction to the DHS. Reversed.

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