Nebraska Revised Statute 43-1312
Plan or permanency plan for foster child; contents; investigation; hearing; court; duties.
(1) Following the investigation conducted pursuant to section 43-1311 and immediately following the initial placement of the child, the person or court in charge of the child shall cause to be established a safe and appropriate plan for the child. The plan shall contain at least the following:
(a) The purpose for which the child has been placed in foster care;
(b) The estimated length of time necessary to achieve the purposes of the foster care placement;
(c) A description of the services which are to be provided in order to accomplish the purposes of the foster care placement;
(d) The person or persons who are directly responsible for the implementation of such plan;
(e) A complete record of the previous placements of the foster child;
(f) The name of the school the child shall attend as provided in section 43-1311; and
(g) The efforts made to involve and engage the child in the development of such plan as provided in the Nebraska Strengthening Families Act.
(2) If the return of the child to his or her parents is not likely based upon facts developed as a result of the investigation, the Department of Health and Human Services shall recommend termination of parental rights and referral for adoption, guardianship, placement with a relative, or, as a last resort, and only in the case of a child who has attained sixteen years of age, another planned permanent living arrangement. If the child is removed from his or her home, the department shall make reasonable efforts to accomplish joint-sibling placement or sibling visitation or ongoing interaction between the siblings as provided in section 43-1311.02.
(3) Each child in foster care under the supervision of the state shall have a permanency hearing by a court, no later than twelve months after the date the child enters foster care and annually thereafter during the continuation of foster care. The court's order shall include the determinations required by section 43-4711 and a finding regarding the appropriateness of the permanency plan determined for the child and shall include whether, and if applicable when, the child will be:
(a) Returned to the parent;
(b) Referred to the state for filing of a petition for termination of parental rights;
(c) Placed for adoption;
(d) Referred for guardianship; or
(e) In cases where the state agency has documented to the court a compelling reason for determining that it would not be in the best interests of the child to return home, (i) referred for termination of parental rights, (ii) placed for adoption with a fit and willing relative, or (iii) placed with a guardian.
(4) As provided in the Nebraska Strengthening Families Act, in the case of any child age sixteen years of age or older for whom another planned permanent living arrangement is the recommended or court-approved permanency plan:
(a) The permanency plan shall include the identification of significant, supportive connections with identified adults willing to be consistently involved in the child’s life as the child transitions to adulthood;
(b) The department shall document the intensive, ongoing, and, as of the date of the hearing, unsuccessful efforts made by the department to return the child home or secure a placement for the child with a fit and willing relative, a legal guardian, or an adoptive parent; and
(c) The court shall:
(i) Ask the child about the desired permanency outcome for the child;
(ii) Make a determination explaining why, as of the date of the hearing, another planned permanent living arrangement is the best permanency plan for the child and the compelling reasons why it continued to not be in the best interests of the child to return home, be placed for adoption, be placed with a legal guardian, or be placed with a fit and willing relative; and
(iii) Make a determination that the department has met the requirements in subdivisions (a) and (b) of this subsection before approving a permanency plan of another planned permanent living arrangement for a child sixteen years of age or older.
- Nebraska Strengthening Families Act, see section 43-4701.
Because subsection (3) of this section requires a permanency hearing for every child in foster care, the court is required to have a permanency hearing even if the child is in foster care because of his or her delinquent behavior, instead of parental abuse or neglect. In re Interest of Spencer O., 277 Neb. 776, 765 N.W.2d 443 (2009).
Under subsection (3) of this section, a permanency hearing considers the appropriateness of a plan for a child in foster care with respect to the plan's likelihood of providing, inter alia, a safe, stable, and nurturing environment. Pursuant to subsection (3) of this section, a permanency hearing must be conducted no later than twelve months after the child enters foster care. In re Interest of Sarah K., 258 Neb. 52, 601 N.W.2d 780 (1999).
An order changing the permanency plan from reunification to adoption but otherwise continuing all of the same terms from prior dispositional orders, from which no appeal was taken and which provided the parent with an opportunity for reunification by complying with the terms of the rehabilitation plan, does not affect a substantial right of the parent and is not a final order. In re Interest of Tayla R., 17 Neb. App. 595, 767 N.W.2d 127 (2009).