Grounds for Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights - Oregon

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Circumstances That Are Grounds for Termination of Parental Rights

Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 419B.502; 419B.504; 419B.506; 419B.508; 419B.510

The rights of the parent or parents may be terminated if the court finds any of the following:

  • The parent is unfit by reason of a single or recurrent incident of extreme conduct toward any child. In determining extreme conduct, the court shall consider the following:
    • Rape, sodomy, or sex abuse of any child by the parent
    • Intentional starvation or torture of any child by the parent
    • Abuse or neglect by the parent of any child resulting in death or serious physical injury
    • Conduct by the parent to aid or abet another person who, by abuse or neglect, caused the death of any child
    • Conduct by the parent to attempt, solicit, or conspire to cause the death of any child
    • Previous involuntary terminations of the parent's rights to another child if the conditions giving rise to the previous action have not been ameliorated
    • Conduct by the parent that knowingly exposes any child of the parent to the storage or production of methamphetamines from precursors
  • The parent is unfit by reason of conduct or condition seriously detrimental to the child, and integration of the child into the home of the parent is improbable within a reasonable time due to conduct or conditions not likely to change. In determining such conduct and conditions, the court shall consider, but is not limited to, the following:
    • Conduct toward any child of an abusive, cruel, or sexual nature
    • Addictive or habitual use of intoxicating liquors, cannabis, or controlled substances to the extent that parental ability has been substantially impaired
    • Physical neglect of the child
    • Lack of effort of the parent to adjust circumstances, conduct, or conditions to make it possible for the child to safely return home within a reasonable time
    • Failure of the parent to effect a lasting adjustment after reasonable efforts by available social agencies for such extended duration of time that it appears reasonable that no lasting adjustment can be effected
    • Criminal conduct that impairs the parent's ability to provide adequate care for the child
    • A mental health condition of the parent of such nature and duration as to render the parent incapable of providing proper care for the child or ward for extended periods of time
  • The parent has failed or neglected, without reasonable and lawful cause, to provide for the basic physical and psychological needs of the child for 6 months. In determining such failure or neglect, the court shall disregard any incidental or minimal expressions of concern or support and shall consider, but is not limited to, one or more of the following:
    • Failure to provide care or pay a reasonable portion of substitute physical care and maintenance if custody is lodged with others
    • Failure to maintain regular visitation or other contact with the child that was designed to reunite the child with the parent
    • Failure to contact or communicate with the child or with the custodian of the child
  • The child has been abandoned or left under such circumstances that the identity of the parent was unknown and could not be ascertained, despite diligent searching, and the parent has not come forward to claim the child within 3 months following the finding of the child.

The rights of the parent may be terminated if the court finds that the child was conceived as the result of an act that led to the parent's conviction for rape. Termination of parental rights under this section does not relieve the parent of any obligation to pay child support. Termination of parental rights under this section is an independent basis for termination of parental rights, and the court need not make any of the considerations or findings described above.

Circumstances That Are Exceptions to Termination of Parental Rights

Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 419B.498; 419B.504

The Department of Human Services shall file a petition to terminate the parental rights of a parent when the child has been in foster care for 15 of the most recent 22 months or there are grounds to terminate unless any of the following apply:

  • The child is being permanently cared for by a relative.
  • There is a compelling reason why filing such a petition would not be in the best interests of the child. Such compelling reasons include, but are not limited to, the following:
    • The parent is successfully participating in services that will make it possible for the child to safely return home within a reasonable time.
    • Another permanency plan is better suited to meet the health and safety needs of the child, including the need to preserve the child's sibling attachments and relationships.
    • The court or local citizen review board in a prior hearing or review determined that, while the case plan was to reunify the family, the department did not make reasonable efforts or, if the Indian Child Welfare Act applies, active efforts to make it possible for the child to safely return home.
  • The department has not provided to the family of the child, consistent with the time period in the case plan, such services as the department deems necessary for the child to safely return home, if reasonable efforts to make it possible for the child to safely return home are required.

No petition to terminate parental rights may be filed until the court has determined that the permanency plan for the child should be adoption after a permanency hearing.

The court may not consider a parent's disability, as that term is defined in the Americans with Disabilities Act (42 U.S.C. § 12101, et seq.) unless the parent's conduct related to the disability is of such nature and duration as to render the parent incapable of providing proper care for the child or ward for extended periods of time.

Circumstances Allowing Reinstatement of Parental Rights

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 419B.532

The term 'former parent' means a person who was previously the legal parent of a ward and whose parental rights to the ward have been terminated.

The department or a ward may file a motion to reinstate the parental rights of a former parent if any of the following apply:

  • The ward has not been adopted.
  • The ward was previously adopted but no longer has a legal parent.
  • No legal action to achieve the adoption of the ward has been initiated.
  • At least 18 months have passed since entry of the judgment terminating the former parent's parental rights to the ward, or, in the event of an appeal, at least 6 months have passed since issuance of an appellate judgment affirming the termination judgment, whichever is later.
  • The ward is at least age 12 at the time the motion to reinstate parental rights is filed.

If the ward is under age 12 at the time the motion to reinstate parental rights is filed, the court may allow the motion upon a showing of good cause.

A motion to reinstate parental rights must be in writing and state the factual and legal grounds for the motion. If the motion states a prima facie case as to the facts that must be proved, the court shall hold a hearing on the merits of the motion. The court shall grant the motion if the moving party proves by clear and convincing evidence of the following:

  • The former parent's conduct and conditions that led to the termination of parental rights have been ameliorated and the former parent is presently fit.
  • The former parent wishes to have parental rights reinstated.
  • The ward consents to the reinstatement of parental rights.
  • Reinstatement of parental rights is in the ward's best interests.

In determining whether reinstatement of parental rights is in the ward's best interests, the court shall consider the following:

  • The ward's health, safety, permanency, age, maturity, and ability to express his or her preferences
  • The reasons that the former parent's parental rights were terminated
  • The former parent's stated reasons for wishing to have parental rights reinstated
  • The likely impact on the ward of the former parent's past abuse or neglect

If the court grants the motion to reinstate parental rights, the following must occur:

  • The court shall enter an order reinstating parental rights that shall restore all parental rights and duties of the former parent as to the ward.
  • The ward shall continue as a ward of the court for at least 6 months after entry of the order reinstating parental rights.
  • The court shall conduct a permanency hearing within 60 days after entering the order to reinstate parental rights.

An order reinstating parental rights does not vacate or otherwise affect the validity of the original judgment terminating the parental rights of the former parent except to the extent that the order reinstates parental rights.