2017 ORS 419B.504¹
Termination upon finding of unfitness

This section is amended
Effective April 3, 2018
Relating to the parental rights of individuals with disabilities; creating new provisions; amending ORS 419B.504; and declaring an emergency.

The rights of the parent or parents may be terminated as provided in ORS 419B.500 (Termination of parental rights generally) if the court finds that the parent or parents are unfit by reason of conduct or condition seriously detrimental to the child or ward and integration of the child or ward into the home of the parent or parents 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:

(1) Emotional illness, mental illness or mental retardation 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.

(2) Conduct toward any child of an abusive, cruel or sexual nature.

(3) Addictive or habitual use of intoxicating liquors, cannabis or controlled substances to the extent that parental ability has been substantially impaired.

(4) Physical neglect of the child or ward.

(5) Lack of effort of the parent to adjust the circumstances of the parent, conduct, or conditions to make it possible for the child or ward to safely return home within a reasonable time or 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.

(6) Criminal conduct that impairs the parent’s ability to provide adequate care for the child or ward. [1993 c.33 §140; 1997 c.873 §7; 2001 c.686 §24; 2003 c.396 §85; 2007 c.70 §199; 2017 c.21 §56]

Notes of Decisions

Under Former Similar Statute

Upon raising objec­tion to admission of voluminous Children’s Services Division file on mother, mother had duty to inform court with particularity which por­tions of docu­ment were inadmissible. State ex rel Juvenile Depart­ment v. Robinson, 31 Or App 1097, 572 P2d 336 (1977), Sup Ct review denied

Evidence of parental con­duct or of condi­tions seriously detri­mental to child is not limited to time prior to initial hearing. State ex rel Juvenile Depart­ment v. Robinson, 31 Or App 1097, 572 P2d 336 (1977), Sup Ct review denied

Termina­tion requires some present inadequacy as parent and cannot be based solely on prognosis of future inadequacy. State ex rel Juvenile Depart­ment v. Wyatt, 34 Or App 793, 579 P2d 889 (1978), Sup Ct review denied

Where peti­tion is based on mental illness of parent, judge must find, based upon evidence from qualified psychotherapist, that mental illness is probably permanent and that condi­tion will probably render parent incapable of caring for child for extended period of time. State ex rel Juv. Dept. v. Habas, 299 Or 177, 700 P2d 225 (1985)

Because words “any child” are used re­gard­ing abusive, cruel or sexual con­duct, danger to child can be proven by instances of such con­duct toward others. State ex rel Juv. Dept. v. Miglioretto, 88 Or App 126, 744 P2d 298 (1987)

Where parent is in foster care, state has no obliga­tion to provide full-time surrogate parenting through mutual foster care. State ex rel Juv. Dept. v. Scott, 100 Or App 172, 785 P2d 779 (1990)

In General

Whether con­duct or condi­tion of parent renders parent unfit depends on detri­mental effect on child at time of termina­tion hearing. State ex rel State Office for Services to Children and Families v. Stillman, 333 Or 135, 36 P3d 490 (2001)

Court must determine parent to be unfit before pro­ceed­ing to consider whether integra­tion of child into home is improbable within reasonable time due to con­duct or condi­tions not likely to change. State ex rel State Office for Services to Children and Families v. Stillman, 333 Or 135, 36 P3d 490 (2001)

Fitness of parent is determined based on combined effect of es­tab­lished con­duct and condi­tions on child. State ex rel State Office for Services to Children and Families v. Mellor, 181 Or App 468, 47 P3d 19 (2002), Sup Ct review denied

Past failure of parent to es­tab­lish rela­tionship with child does not, by itself, make parent presently unfit. State ex rel Depart­ment of Human Services v. Rardin, 340 Or 436, 134 P3d 940 (2006)

Law Review Cita­tions

Under Former Similar Statute

8 WLJ 284 (1972)

In General

35 WLR 797 (1999)

Notes of Decisions

Under Former Similar Statutes

Due process does not require the appoint­ment of “independent counsel” to represent the child in every adop­tion or termina­tion of parental rights pro­ceed­ing. F. v. C., 24 Or App 601, 547 P2d 175 (1976)

When sec­ond termina­tion of parental rights pro­ceed­ing was not itself barred, proof was not limited by res judicata or collateral estoppel principles to facts or evidence which was not considered in or which came in to being after first pro­ceed­ing. State ex rel Juvenile Dept. v. Newman, 49 Or App 221, 619 P2d 901 (1980), Sup Ct review denied

Chapter 419B

Notes of Decisions

Due process rights of parents are al­ways implicated in construc­tion and applica­tion of pro­vi­sions of this chapter. Depart­ment of Human Services v. J.R.F., 351 Or 570, 273 P3d 87 (2012)

1 Legislative Counsel Committee, CHAPTER 419B—Juvenile Code: Dependency, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ors419B.­html (2017) (last ac­cessed Mar. 30, 2018).
2 Legislative Counsel Committee, Annotations to the Oregon Revised Stat­utes, Cumulative Supplement - 2017, Chapter 419B, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ano419B.­html (2017) (last ac­cessed Mar. 30, 2018).
3 OregonLaws.org assembles these lists by analyzing references between Sections. Each listed item refers back to the current Section in its own text. The result reveals relationships in the code that may not have otherwise been apparent.