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In re D. G.

Court of Appeals of Oregon

November 21, 2018

In the Matter of D. G., a Child.
v.
A . F., Appellant. DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES, Petitioner-Respondent,

          Submitted September 6, 2018

          Linn County Circuit Court 17JU09504; Petition Number J170356; Daniel R. Murphy, Judge.

          Tiffany Keast, Deputy Public Defender, Offce of Public Defense Services, argued the cause for appellant. Also on the briefs was Shannon Storey, Chief Defender, Juvenile Appellate Section.

          Christopher A. Perdue, Assistant Attorney General, argued the cause for respondent. Also on the brief were Ellen F. Rosenblum, Attorney General, and Benjamin Gutman, Solicitor General.

          Before Hadlock, Presiding Judge, and DeHoog, Judge, and Aoyagi, Judge.

         Case Summary:

         In this juvenile dependency case, mother appeals a disposition judgment ordering her to submit to a psychological evaluation. The Department of Human Services (DHS) requested the evaluation to help it determine whether there is a mental-health component to mother's neglect of her three-year-old child, D. On appeal, mother argues that the court exceeded its authority under ORS 419B.337(2) because there is no rational relationship between the ordered evaluation and the bases for dependency jurisdiction. In mother's view, her neglect of D was solely due to her drug addiction. DHS responds that the rational-relationship requirement is a minimal threshold of justification and that [295 Or.App. 70] the evidence in this case was sufficient to meet that threshold.

         Held:

         On this record, the juvenile court did not err in ordering a psychological evaluation of mother as rationally related to the jurisdictional bases regarding neglect.

         Affirmed.

         [295 Or.App. 71] AOYAGI, J.

         In this juvenile dependency case, mother appeals a disposition judgment ordering her to submit to a psychological evaluation. The Department of Human Services (DHS) requested the evaluation to help it determine whether there is a mental-health component to mother neglecting her three-year-old child, D. Mother argues that there is no rational relationship between the ordered evaluation and the jurisdictional bases and that the juvenile court therefore exceeded its authority under ORS 419B.337(2). DHS contends that the evidence was sufficient to meet the low threshold to establish a rational relationship. As discussed below, we agree with DHS that the minimal standard for a rational relationship is met. In so ruling, we limit our consideration to ORS 419B.337(2) and do not consider mother's untimely-raised alternative argument that the court should have applied ORS 419B.387 instead of or in addition to ORS 419B.337(2). Accordingly, we affirm.

         We review the juvenile court's legal conclusions for errors of law and its findings for any evidence. Dept. of Human Services v. B. W., 249 Or.App. 123, 125, 275 P.3d 989 (2012).

         D was born in 2014. Father is incarcerated in Michigan and is unavailable as a custodial resource; he is not a party to this appeal. Mother lives in Oregon and has been D's primary caregiver, but she is addicted to methamphetamine. In May 2017, police responded to a domestic violence incident between mother and her boyfriend and, later the same month, to a report of loud pounding from mother's apartment and a possible theft. D was present on both occasions. After those incidents, DHS received multiple reports about D's living situation, including that D was living at one point in a vehicle with mother and her boyfriend, despite a no-contact order; that D was living in a home where a "huge amount" of methamphetamine use was happening and where drug paraphernalia was within D's reach; and that D was living at another time with mother's sister and her partner, who had a sex abuse conviction. In October 2017, DHS located D and removed him from mother's care. Upon removal, D tested positive for methamphetamine. He was [295 Or.App. 72] covered in scars, was thin, and suffered gastrointestinal problems. One of D's foster parents-with whom D has been living since about a week after the removal-testified that D was "extremely violent" and "very afraid" when he arrived and repeatedly attacked his foster parents and other people. He was ...


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