Dept. of Human Services v. C.M.E.

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Juvenile Law
  • Date Filed: 05-11-2016
  • Case #: A160309
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Garrett, J., for the Court; Ortega, P.J.; & Lagesen, J.

The benchmark for proving a parent has made "adequate process toward reunification" is not "mere participation in services," but rather whether a parent had progressed in the standards set out in ORS 419B.498(2).

Mother appealed the juvenile court’s decision changing Child’s permanency plan from reunification to adoption as a result of Mother’s failure to make sufficient progress toward reunification. Mother argued that she had met DHS’s conditions for Child’s return, including attending parenting classes and counseling sessions and thus the permanency plan should be reunification with Child. DHS supported Mother in this position. “A parent’s mere participation in services . . . is not sufficient to establish adequate progress toward reunification.” Dept. of Human Services v. N.S., 246 Or. App. 341, 351, 265 P.3d 792 (2011). The Court explained the proper benchmark for determining a parent’s progress was the standards set in ORS 419B.498(2). In this case, the Court looked to Mother’s mental health problems and inability to care for Child. The juvenile court had found that Mother’s progress had not sufficiently improved her ability to manage her mental health or to safely care for Child, despite her progress in participation in DHS-required services. Thus, the Court concluded that the juvenile court’s decision was not made in error. Affirmed.

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