Dept. of Human Services v. R.W.C.

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Juvenile Law
  • Date Filed: 03-15-2023
  • Case #: A178905
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: ORTEGA, PJ., for the Court. Joined by POWERS and HELLMAN, JJ.
  • Full Text Opinion

Juvenile courts may order psychological evaluations as part of the Department of Human Service's treatment plan for parents of children under the court's jurisdiction in cases of adoption as well as reunification under ORS 419B.387.

This appeal was filed by a father ordered by the juvenile court to submit to a psychological evaluation to assess his treatment plan suggested by the Department of Human Services (DHS). The appellant argued that under ORS 419B.387 the juvenile court did not have authority for the evaluation order because the child’s permanency plan had been changed from reunification to adoption, therefore his parental rights were in the process of being terminated. The DHS countered that the change in status from reunification to adoption was not irreversible and it was the department’s policy to continue treatment while a parent retained parental rights. An evaluation is a predicate component of treatment or training of a parent,” and provides juvenile court jurisdiction to order a psychological evaluation of the appellant. Dept. of Human Services v. W.C.T., 314 Ore. App. 734, 766 (Or. Ct. App. 2021). The Court held that the order from the juvenile court was appropriate because its purpose was for treatment evaluation and not as a discovery tool. Because the Court found that nothing in the statute supported the appellant’s argument, and professional testimonies from the juvenile court trial expressed concerns about the appellant’s behavior that was “rationally related to the findings that bring the child into the courts’ jurisdiction.” AFFIRMED.

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