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In re A. H.

Court of Appeals of Oregon

November 20, 2019

In the Matter of A. H., a Child.
v.
T. L. H., Appellant. DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES, Petitioner-Respondent,

          Argued and submitted August 27, 2019

          On Respondent's Motion to Dismiss filed July 9, 2019,

          Appellant's Response Filed July 23, 2019.

          Columbia County Circuit Court 17J U0 34 57; Cathleen B. Callahan, Judge.

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

          Judy C. Lucas, Assistant Attorney General, argued the cause for respondent. Also on the brief were Ellen F. Rosenblum, Attorney General, and Benjamin Gutman, Solicitor General.

          Before Lagesen, Presiding Judge, and DeVore, Judge, and Powers, Judge.

         Case Summary: In this juvenile dependency case, father appeals from a review hearing judgment, assigning error to the juvenile court's order that he submit to a psychological evaluation. Father contends that, under ORS 419B.387, the court lacked authority to order the evaluation, arguing that an evaluation did not qualify as "treatment or training" and that sufficient proof had not been established in a hearing to require the evaluation. Held: In light of Dept. of Human Services v. D. R. D., 298 Or.App. 788, 791, P.3d (2019), the Court of Appeals concludes that ORS 419B.387 authorizes a psychological evaluation when the evidence indicates that the parent may require it as a component of [300 Or.App. 607] additional treatment or training needed to "prepare the parent to resume the care" of a child because of the child's particular needs. In an evidentiary hearing, the Department of Human Services established that father needed a psychological evaluation as a component of such treatment or training to resume care.

         [300 Or.App. 608] DEVORE, J.

         In this juvenile dependency case, father appeals from a review hearing judgment, assigning error to the juvenile court's order that he submit to a psychological evaluation. Father argues that, under ORS 419B.387, the court lacked authority or evidence to order the evaluation, as related to "treatment or training." In light of our recent decision, Dept. of Human Services v. D. R. D., 298 Or.App. 788, ___ P.3d ___ (2019), we conclude that ORS 419B.387 authorizes a psychological evaluation when the evidence indicates that the parent may require it as a component of additional treatment or training needed to "prepare the parent to resume the care" of a child because of the child's particular needs.[1]Because Department of Human Services (DHS) established in an evidentiary hearing that father needed a psychological evaluation as a component of such treatment or training to resume care, we affirm.

         "We review the juvenile court's legal conclusions for errors of law and its findings for any evidence." Id. at 791 (quoting Dept. of Human Services v. A. F., 295 Or.App. 69, 71, 433 P.3d 459 (2018)). Father's child became a ward of the court after removal from his mother in April 2017, when he was two years old. The jurisdictional judgment, as to father, asserted dependency jurisdiction over the child due to (1) father having done nothing to assert custody of his child despite his awareness of the allegations against mother, and (2) his residential instability which interfered with his ability to provide for his child. The child was placed in foster care, and the case plan was to reunify the child with his parents. As part of the disposition, father was ordered to: (a) participate in a drug and alcohol assessment and follow all related recommendations; (b) engage in a psychological evaluation 60 days after sobriety and follow all related recommendations; and (c) complete a parenting course.

         Over the following year-and-a-half, father struggled with drug addiction and homelessness. However, he participated in services and, ultimately, secured housing. Meanwhile, the child-who was diagnosed with adjustment [300 Or.App. 609] disorder with anxiety, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, speech sound disorder, and child neglect-was receiving speech and occupational therapy, as well as mental health counseling. Child also suffered from asthma so severe that, on one occasion, it led to hospitalization.

         Despite progress towards reunification, DHS had concerns regarding father's ability to provide appropriate care for his child. The child began therapeutic visits at father's residence, supervised by a counselor, who subsequently recommended overnight visits. Father was also invited to participate in his son's therapy appointments, but missed about half. When he did attend, he appeared "scattered," and he came in and out during the therapy time. That, as well as reports of father's continued substance abuse, and diluted and missed urinalysis (UA) tests, raised red flags for DHS.

         In November 2018, DHS filed a motion requesting that the juvenile court order father to submit to a psychological evaluation. DHS noted the child's several diagnoses and argued that the evaluation was necessary because "the child has high behavioral needs, and the evaluation will assess the father's ability to maintain a stable residence while trying to parent a child whose needs are as high as this child's needs." DHS highlighted that father had only recently started engaging in services addressing "his ability to maintain a stable and safe residence for the child" and that he had done so without "parenting the child full time." DHS also noted father's past insobriety. DHS concluded that it needed "to ensure that [father] has all services that he needs in order to parent his ...


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