43-247.03. Restorative justice practices; confidential; privileged communications.

(1) In any juvenile case, the court may provide the parties the opportunity to address issues involving the child's care and placement, services to the family, and other concerns through restorative justice practices. Restorative justice practices may include, but are not limited to, prehearing conferences, family group conferences, expedited family group conferences, child welfare mediation, permanency prehearing conferences, termination of parental rights prehearing conferences, juvenile victim-offender dialogue, victim youth conferencing, victim-offender mediation, youth or community dialogue, panels, circles, and truancy mediation. The Office of Dispute Resolution shall be responsible for funding and management for such services provided by approved centers. All discussions taking place during such restorative justice practices, including plea negotiations, shall be confidential and privileged communications as provided in section 25-2914.01.

(2) For purposes of this section:

(a) Expedited family group conference means an expedited and limited-scope facilitated planning meeting which engages a child's or juvenile's parents, the child or juvenile when appropriate, other critical family members, services providers, and staff members from either the Department of Health and Human Services or the Office of Probation Administration to address immediate placement issues for the child or juvenile;

(b) Family group conference means a facilitated meeting involving a child's or juvenile's family, the child or juvenile when appropriate, available extended family members from across the United States, other significant and close persons to the family, service providers, and staff members from either the Department of Health and Human Services or the Office of Probation Administration to develop a family-centered plan for the best interests of the child and to address the essential issues of safety, permanency, and well-being of the child;

(c) Juvenile victim-offender dialogue means a court-connected process in which a facilitator meets with the juvenile offender and the victim in an effort to convene a dialogue in which the offender takes responsibility for his or her actions and the victim is able to address the offender and request an apology and restitution, with the goal of creating an agreed-upon written plan;

(d) Prehearing conference means a facilitated meeting prior to appearing in court and held to gain the cooperation of the parties, to offer services and treatment, and to develop a problem-solving atmosphere in the best interests of children involved in the juvenile court system. A prehearing conference may be scheduled at any time during the child welfare or juvenile court process, from initial removal through permanency, termination of parental rights, and juvenile delinquency court processes; and

(e) Victim youth conferencing means a process in which a restorative justice facilitator meets with the juvenile and the victim, when appropriate, in an effort to convene a dialogue in which the juvenile takes responsibility for his or her actions and the victim or victim surrogate is able to address the juvenile and create a reparation plan agreement, which may include apologies, restitution, community services, or other agreed-upon means of amends.

Source:Laws 2008, LB1014, § 38; R.S.1943, (2008), § 43-247.01; Laws 2014, LB464, § 10; Laws 2019, LB595, § 25.
Effective Date: September 1, 2019