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Dept. of Human Services v. D.M.

248 Or App 683

March 14, 2012

Multnomah County


Mother appealed the trial court's ruling denying her motion to dismiss arguing that she had ameliorated the allegation that established jurisdiction. Mother stipulated that she failed to provide adequate supervision of the children and had a substance abuse problem that if left untreated creates a threat of harm to the children. At the review hearing she moved to dismiss the case. The purpose of a review hearing is to determine if the conditions and circumstances of the children require continuing jurisdiction.

Mother argued that "wardship must be dismissed unless DHS proves that the alleged jurisdictional bases continue to pose a current threat of serious loss or injury." DHS argued that the correct standard in determining if jurisdiction should continue is whether "there is a reasonable likelihood of harm to the welfare of the child." The court stated that the two arguments are not exclusive of each other, but, rather, compliment each other.

Jurisdiction was established in March 2010. The review hearing occurred in July 2011. At that hearing, DHS presented no evidence that mother continued to use drugs. The facts that the agency presented were that mom had a conversation in front of the child where she talked about her former life as a professional escort, talked about being a dancer in front of the children, promised to make an effort to stop talking about her past in front of the children, allowed an adult male provide expensive gifts to one of the children, she did not adequately monitor one of the children's internet use, one child appeared "healthy, happy, well-cared for," mother completed substance abuse treatment and parenting with a Family Skill Builder, she achieved a minimally adequate level of parenting, and that she hugged her male therapist the first time she met him but stopped when he expressed concerns.

Further, the caseworker recommended that the wardship be terminated six-days before the review but at the review indicated continuing concerns over mother's "questionable" judgment and recommended continuing jurisdiction. Based on the record, the court concluded that there was insufficient evidence to show that there is a reasonable likelihood of harm stemming from the allegation in the petition. Given that, the court dismissed jurisdiction.

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