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In re A. R. C.

Court of Appeals of Oregon

August 14, 2013

In the Matter of A. R. C., a Minor. DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES, Petitioner-Respondent,
v.
D. W. C., Appellant.

Submitted on March 01, 2013.

Wasco County Circuit Court J10023, Petition Number J1002301, Janet L. Stauffer, Judge.

Peter Gartlan, Chief Defender, and Kimberlee Petrie Volm, Deputy Public Defender, Office of Public Defense Services, filed the brief for appellant.

Ellen F. Rosenblum, Attorney General, Anna M. Joyce, Solicitor General, and Jake J. Hogue, Assistant Attorney General, filed the brief for respondent.

Before Armstrong, Presiding Judge, and Nakamoto, Judge, and Egan, Judge.

EGAN, J.

In this juvenile dependency case, father appeals from a permanency judgment that changed the permanency plan for his daughter, A, from reunification to guardianship. Father contends that the juvenile court erred in concluding that his progress in establishing a relationship with A was insufficient and thus erred in changing the permanency plan for A.[1] The Department of Human Services (DHS) maintains that the juvenile court did not err in concluding that father made insufficient progress, and therefore did not err in changing A's permanency plan from reunification to guardianship. For the following reasons, we affirm.

I. STANDARD OF REVIEW

The parties do not request that we exercise our discretion to review this case de novo, ORS 19.415(3)(b), and we decline to do so. See ORAP 5.40(8)(c) (we exercise de novo review "only in exceptional cases"). Accordingly, "we view the evidence, as supplemented and buttressed by permissible derivative inferences, in the light most favorable to the trial court's [determination] and assess whether, when so viewed, the record was legally sufficient to permit that outcome." Dept. of Human Services v. N. P., __ Or.App. __, __, __ P.3d __ (July 24, 2013) (slip op at 7).

II. FACTS

We recite the facts consistently with the juvenile court's expressed and implied findings, supplemented by uncontroverted information in the record. A was seven years old at the time of the permanency hearing. She had been living with mother and stepfather in Oregon; father lived in Oklahoma. In May 2010, when A was 5 years old, DHS learned that mother had bitten A's arm, causing injury, and that mother and stepfather were abusing methamphetamine. DHS took custody of A and petitioned the juvenile court to assert jurisdiction over A on the following bases:

"A) [A]'s mother * * * has inflicted injuries on [A] leaving significant bruises.
"B) [A]'s mother['s] * * * use of controlled substances and/or alcohol affects her ability to adequately parent [A], placing [A] at risk of harm.
"C) [A]'s mother * * * leads a chaotic and unstable lifestyle, placing [A] at risk of harm.
"D) [A]'s father * * * knew or should have known [A] was at risk of harm and he failed to take steps to adequately protect [A]. In addition, he has had limited contact with [A] for an extended period of time.
"E) The totality of the circumstances is such as to endanger the welfare of [A]."

(Emphasis added.) In May 2010, the juvenile court took jurisdiction over A on the grounds set forth above. The initial permanency plan instituted by DHS was reunification with family. A has been in relative ...


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