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In re Chloe C.

Court of Appeals of Nebraska

May 21, 2013

In re Interest of Chloe C., a child under 18 years of age.
v.
Staci C., appellant. State of Nebraska, appellee, In re Interest of Carly C., a child under 18 years of age. State of Nebraska, appellee,
v.
Staci C., appellant.

1. Juvenile Courts: Appeal and Error. An appellate court reviews juvenile cases de novo on the record and reaches its conclusions independently of the juvenile court's findings.

2. Parental Rights: Proof. In Nebraska statutes, the bases for termination of parental rights are codified in Neb. Rev. Stat. § 43-292 (Cum. Supp. 2012). Section 43-292 provides 11 separate conditions, any one of which can serve as the basis for the termination of parental rights when coupled with evidence that termination is in the best interests of the child.

3. Parental Rights: Evidence: Appeal and Error. If an appellate court determines that the lower court correctly found that termination of parental rights is appropriate under one of the statutory grounds set forth in Neb. Rev. Stat. § 43-292 (Cum. Supp. 2012), the appellate court need not further address the sufficiency of the evidence to support termination under any other statutory ground.

[20 Neb.App. 788] 4. Parental Rights. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 43-292 (Cum. Supp. 2012) requires that parental rights can be terminated only when the court finds that termination is in the child's best interests.

5. Parental Rights: Evidence. In determining whether it is in the best interests of the child for the court to terminate parental rights, the lower court can consider relevant evidence of facts occurring within the time period before the filing of the termination action, as well as those that have transpired since the date of the filing of the motion or petition seeking the termination of parental rights, such as those relating to parental efforts and behavior, and the needs or circumstances of the child.

6. Parental Rights. Children cannot, and should not, be allowed to linger in foster care while waiting to see if the parent will mature.

7. ___. Where a parent is unable or unwilling to rehabilitate himself or herself within a reasonable time, the best interests of the child require termination of parental rights.

8. Parental Rights: Parent and Child. In considering the issue of whether it is in the best interests of the child for the court to terminate parental rights, it is important to remember that the law does not require perfection of a parent. Instead, the court should assess whether the parent has made continued improvement in parenting skills and whether a beneficial relationship has been established between the parent and the child.

Appeals from the County Court for Saunders County: Gerald E. Rouse, Judge. Reversed and remanded with directions to dismiss.

Jennifer D. Joakim for appellant.

Jonathan M. Frazer, Deputy Saunders County Attorney, for appellee.

Sievers, Pirtle, and Riedmann, Judges.

Riedmann, Judge.

INTRODUCTION

Staci C. appeals from the orders of the county court for Saunders County, sitting as a juvenile court, which terminated her parental rights to her daughters, Chloe C. and Carly C. Although there is a separate record for each case, the appellant and the issues raised on appeal are the same, and therefore, we consolidate these cases for resolution. Because we find the State failed to prove by clear and convincing evidence that terminating Staci's parental rights was in the best interests of Chloe and Carly, we ...


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