Nebraska Revised Statute 43-283.01

Chapter 43 Section 283.01

43-283.01.

Preserve and reunify the family; reasonable efforts; requirements.

(1) In determining whether reasonable efforts have been made to preserve and reunify the family and in making such reasonable efforts, the juvenile's health and safety are the paramount concern.

(2) Except as provided in subsections (4) and (5) of this section, reasonable efforts shall be made to preserve and reunify families prior to the placement of a juvenile in foster care to prevent or eliminate the need for removing the juvenile from the juvenile's home and to make it possible for a juvenile to safely return to the juvenile's home.

(3) If continuation of reasonable efforts to preserve and reunify the family is determined to be inconsistent with the permanency plan determined for the juvenile in accordance with a permanency hearing under section 43-1312, efforts shall be made to place the juvenile in a timely manner in accordance with the permanency plan and to complete whatever steps are necessary to finalize the permanent placement of the juvenile.

(4) Reasonable efforts to preserve and reunify the family are not required if a court of competent jurisdiction has determined that:

(a) The parent of the juvenile has subjected the juvenile or another minor child to aggravated circumstances, including, but not limited to, abandonment, torture, chronic abuse, or sexual abuse;

(b) The parent of the juvenile has (i) committed first or second degree murder to another child of the parent, (ii) committed voluntary manslaughter to another child of the parent, (iii) aided or abetted, attempted, conspired, or solicited to commit murder, or aided or abetted voluntary manslaughter of the juvenile or another child of the parent, (iv) committed a felony assault which results in serious bodily injury to the juvenile or another minor child of the parent, or (v) been convicted of felony sexual assault of the other parent of the juvenile under section 28-319.01 or 28-320.01 or a comparable crime in another state; or

(c) The parental rights of the parent to a sibling of the juvenile have been terminated involuntarily.

(5) Except as otherwise provided in the Nebraska Indian Child Welfare Act, if the family includes a child who was conceived by the victim of a sexual assault and a biological parent is convicted of the crime under section 28-319 or 28-320 or a law in another jurisdiction similar to either section 28-319 or 28-320, the convicted biological parent of such child shall not be considered a part of the child's family for purposes of requiring reasonable efforts to preserve and reunify the family.

(6) If reasonable efforts to preserve and reunify the family are not required because of a court determination made under subsection (4) of this section, a permanency hearing, as provided in section 43-1312, shall be held for the juvenile within thirty days after the determination, reasonable efforts shall be made to place the juvenile in a timely manner in accordance with the permanency plan, and whatever steps are necessary to finalize the permanent placement of the juvenile shall be made.

(7) Reasonable efforts to place a juvenile for adoption or with a guardian may be made concurrently with reasonable efforts to preserve and reunify the family, but priority shall be given to preserving and reunifying the family as provided in this section.

Source

Cross References

  • Nebraska Indian Child Welfare Act, see section 43-1501.

Annotations

  • A detention hearing is a parent's opportunity to be heard on the need for the removal and the satisfaction of the State's obligations under this section, and it is not optional when a child is detained for any significant period of time. In re Interest of Mainor T. & Estela T., 267 Neb. 232, 674 N.W.2d 442 (2004).

  • A finding of a fact that excuses the requirement of reasonable efforts at reunification under subsection (4) of this section must be based on clear and convincing evidence. In re Interest of Jac'Quez N., 266 Neb. 782, 669 N.W.2d 429 (2003).

  • The term "aggravated circumstances," as used in subsection (4)(a) of this section, embodies the concept that the nature of the abuse or neglect must have been so severe or repetitive that to attempt reunification would jeopardize and compromise the safety of the child and would place the child in a position of an unreasonable risk to be reabused. In re Interest of Jac'Quez N., 266 Neb. 782, 669 N.W.2d 429 (2003).

  • The plain language of this section contains no directive granting a parent or any other party the right to bring a motion requesting a separate hearing on the issue of reasonable efforts to preserve and reunify. The Legislature intended that the issue of reasonable efforts required under this section must be reviewed by the juvenile court (1) when removing from the home a juvenile adjudged to be under subsections (3) or (4) of section 43-247 pursuant to section 43-284, (2) when the court continues a juvenile's out-of-home placement pending adjudication pursuant to section 43-254, (3) when the court reviews a juvenile's status and permanency planning pursuant to section 43-1315, and (4) when termination of parental rights to a juvenile is sought by the State under subsection (6) of section 43-292. In re Interest of DeWayne G., Jr. & Devon G., 263 Neb. 43, 638 N.W.2d 510 (2002).

  • A "parent of the juvenile" means a biological parent or a stepparent when such stepparent is married to the custodial parent as of the filing of the petition; a custodial parent's live-in boyfriend or girlfriend is not a "parent of the juvenile" for purposes of this section. In re Interest of Ethan M., 15 Neb. App. 148, 723 N.W.2d 363 (2006).

  • The term "aggravated circumstances" embodies the concept that the nature of the abuse or neglect must have been so severe or repetitive that to attempt reunification would jeopardize and compromise the safety of the child and would place the child in a position of an unreasonable risk to be reabused. In re Interest of Ethan M., 15 Neb. App. 148, 723 N.W.2d 363 (2006).

  • Pursuant to subsection (6) of section 43-292, termination of parental rights requires a finding that following a determination that the juvenile is one as described in subsection (3)(a) of section 43-247, reasonable efforts to preserve and reunify the family if required under this section, under the direction of the court, have failed to correct the conditions leading to the determination. In re Interest of Stacey D. & Shannon D., 12 Neb. App. 707, 684 N.W.2d 594 (2004).

  • Pursuant to subsection (4)(b) of this section, clear and convincing evidence that the parent of the juvenile has committed first or second degree murder of another child of the parent, or has committed voluntary manslaughter of another child of the parent, excuses the Department of Health and Human Services from the requirement to make reasonable efforts to reunify the family. In re Interest of Anthony V., 12 Neb. App. 567, 680 N.W.2d 221 (2004).

  • A finding of "felony child abuse" does not satisfy the requirements of subsection (4)(b)(iv) of this section, and there is no crime called "felony child abuse" in Nebraska. In re Interest of Janet J., 12 Neb. App. 42, 666 N.W.2d 741 (2003).

  • Where the State removes a child from the family, this section requires the State to make reasonable efforts to preserve and reunify the family, and if properly raised, a parent is entitled to a ruling on whether the State has complied with the legislative mandate of this section. In re Interest of DeWayne G. & Devon G., 10 Neb. App. 177, 625 N.W.2d 849 (2001).