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Announcements

  • Registration for the 2012 Children's Summit is now open. Register Here | Click here for more information.
  • The DHHS Service Area boundaries have been adjusted to conform with Judicial Districts, as required by language in LB 961 which was passed in this year's legislative session. View the new Service Area map.
  • The Through the Eyes of the Child Initiative recently hosted two Lecture Series trainings. One was on concurrent planning and one was on the use of medication to treat behavioral and mental health problems in children. Read an article from the Hastings Tribune about the concurrent planning training | Read the Lincoln Journal Star article on the medication training
  • The Foster Parent and Relative Caregiver Information form allows foster parents and relative caregivers to submit information to the court. The form should be submitted to the court hearing the child's case two weeks prior to the next hearing.
  • Project Safe Start - Nebraska is currently operating in the Lancaster and Douglas County Family Drug Courts. Funded through the Nebraska Administrative Office of the Courts with a 4-year $1.3 million SAMHSA grant, and managed by the Nebraska Court Improvement Project, Project Safe Start - Nebraska focuses on the needs of infants and toddlers in the child welfare court system whose families have been affected by methamphetamine and other drugs. Infants and toddlers can have profound social-emotional and other developmental impacts due to neglect, as discussed by Dr. Joy Osofsky in a 2009 training for Nebraska mental health therapists. This grant program was recently highlighted in a Lincoln Journal Star article. For more information on Project Safe Start Nebraska or mental health and trauma related services for children ages zero to five,  please contact Jennie Cole-Mossman at 402-472-9807 or jcmossman@ccfl.unl.edu
  • Studies of Representation of Children and Youth in Nebraska Pursuant to LB 961 (2008), a study of Nebraska's guardian ad litem practices, was undertaken by the National Association of Counsel for Children (Denver, CO), and a study of Nebraska's juvenile indigent defense system in delinquency cases was undertaken by the National Juvenile Defender Center (Washington, DC). Read the GAL report. Read the juvenile defense report.

A Letter From the Chief Justice

Chief Justice Michael Heavican

Chief Justice Michael Heavican

A look back at five years and what we have accomplished

August 2011

This fall marks the fifth anniversary of the Through the Eyes of the Child Initiative. The Initiative was launched in Nebraska City in September, 2006, when 200 Nebraska professionals gathered together to learn, talk, and plan about how we could do better as a court system in our work with children in our child welfare system. Those present at that first Children's Summit chose the name "Through the Eyes of the Child" to remind us that the child's perspective, needs, and developmental timeline should be front and center considerations as local multidisciplinary teams began their collaborative work in bringing best court and legal practices to their communities.

 

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Priorities

  1. Reduce the time to reunification
  2. Improve systems effectiveness with parents with substance abuse issues
  3. Improve the use of parenting time to improve permanency

Spotlight Issue

  • Collaboration: A Unique Perspective toward Advocacy for Children
    By Jennifer Chrystal-Clark, Deputy Douglas County Attorney
        Juvenile Court is an entity unique from any other Court and one’s experience in Juvenile Court can be stressful. For a prosecutor, not only are they burdened with proving the facts in a case but they also must deal with numerous entities involved in the Juvenile Court system. There are the police who may have removed the children; child protective services who conduct an initial assessment for the family; medical personal who examine the children for any physical signs of abuse; and mental health professionals who provide therapeutic needs for the family.

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Spotlight Team

  • Seven Nebraska courts celebrate National Adoption Day
    On November 19 and 20, 2010, seven courts across Nebraska celebrated National Adoption Day. Judges in Scottsbluff, Norfolk, Hastings, Kearney, Grand Island, Lincoln and Omaha opened their courthouses to finalize adoption and celebrate the creation of permanent relationships of children in foster care to their caregivers. In Norfolk, Judge Ross Stoffer led a celebration that included swimming, laser tag, face painting, gifts and door prizes. An online photo album of the adoptions of eight children in Grand Island which was led by Judge Mac Martin is available here. The Omaha courts celebrated their 11th National Adoption Day where 29 children were adopted.

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Latest Caselaw Updates

  • In re Interest of Taylor S. & Maddison S.
    Filed on May 15, 2012 Not designated for permanent publication, A-11-671 SUMMARY: Termination of parental rights was proper where over four years the parents did not maintain consistency in any area of their lives, were not able to become adequate parents and consistently refused to cooperate with parties.  Taylor S., DOB 5/04, and Maddison S., DOB 4/05, were [...]
  • In re Interest of Kyjsha T. et al.
    Filed on May 8, 2012 Not designated for permanent publication, A-10-376 SUMMARY: Termination was proper where the parents were unable over the course of several years to properly parent the children, who were exhibiting severe behaviors and had high needs. The children’s statements made to the therapist and caseworker were properly admitted in satisfaction of due [...]
  • In re Interest of Taeven Z.
    Filed on May 1, 2012 19 Neb. App. 831, ____ N.W.2d ____ SUMMARY: Proper notice of allegations against a parent in the petition is a requirement of due process, not of jurisdiction. In the allegation of non-supervision of a child, duration is a critical piece of establishing definite risk of harm.  A 3a petition as to Taeven, [...]
  • In re Interest of Patrick N. et al.
    Filed on April 24, 2012 Not designated for permanent publication, A-11-663 SUMMARY: The children’s perceptions of permanency in distinguishing adoption and guardianship do not affect the determination of whether termination is in the children’s best interests. Termination of parental rights was proper because the mother was not capable of putting herself in a position to parent.  The [...]
  • In re Interest of Enrique P. et al.
    Filed on April 17, 2012 19 Neb. App.778, ____ N.W.2d ____ SUMMARY: A court order ceasing the search for relative placements in an ICWA case was in error because there was insufficient evidence in the record that good cause existed to avoid placement preferences.  The children, Enrique P., DOB 6/93, Carina P., DOB 12/95, Christian P., DOB 11/99, [...]
More caselaw updates …