Dept. of Human Serv. v. S.M.S

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Juvenile Law
  • Date Filed: 07-07-2016
  • Case #: A160831
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Ortega, P.J. for the Court; Lagesen, J; & Garrett, J.

Under ORS 419B.100(1)(c), the requirements for a court to take jurisdiction of a child are satisfied if, under the totality of the circumstances at the time of the jurisdictional hearing, there is a reasonable likelihood of harm to the welfare of the child or another person.

Mother appealed a juvenile court's decision to assert jurisdiction over her daughter, L. The Department of Human Services (DHS) removed from Mother’s care and filed a dependency petition. At the jurisdictional hearing the juvenile court asserted jurisdiction over L in spite of acknowledging that Mother’s mental illness was being adequately stabilized at the time of the hearing. On appeal, Mother challenged the juvenile court’s determination that the child’s circumstances created a current threat of serious loss or injury because at the time of the hearing her condition was stabilized. DHS argued Mother’s condition was only “tentatively stable” based on Mother’s repeated pattern of interrupted treatment followed by several lengthy psychiatric stays, along with the lack of support from others in Mother’s life to monitor her treatment and detect any symptoms should they return. The Court held, taking into account the history, duration, and severity of Mother’s mental illness, it was reasonable and legally sufficient for the juvenile court to infer that Mother’s mental illness was only temporarily stable at the time of the jurisdictional hearing, and still posed a threat of harm to L. Affirmed.

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