Sunday, December 8, 2013

State ex rel. Children’s Services Division v. Brady case brief

State ex rel. Children’s Services Division v. Brady case brief summary
899 P.2d 691 (1995)

Appellant mother sought review of the judgment of the Circuit Court, Lane County (Oregon), which terminated her parental rights to her special needs child at the request of respondent Children's Services Division. At issue was whether the Division had met its burden under Or. Rev. Stat. § 419B.504 of proving that the mentally impaired mother was, and would be in the future, unable to meet the child's physical and emotional needs.

The child was born prematurely and suffered severe medical problems that required that she remain hospitalized after birth. The mother was of low average intelligence and was in an abusive relationship with the child's father. The hospital contacted the Division after its staff had to intervene in an altercation between the parents. The child was placed in foster care and the mother was allowed to visit. The trial court terminated the mother's rights on petition by the Division on the grounds that the mother's condition prevented her from caring for the child and would continue to do so in the foreseeable future. The mother appealed.


  • The court noted that the Division had relied almost exclusively on two psychological evaluations of the mother to show her present and future incapacity and that the reports were 10 months and 16 months old at the time of trial. 
  • The court found also that one of the evaluators could not render an opinion as to the mother's ability at the time of trial or in the future. 
  • The court noted the mother's diligence in visiting her child, playing with her, and in taking parenting classes and concluded that the Division had not met its burden under § 419B.504.
The court reversed the judgment of the trial court that terminated the mother's parental rights to her child.

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