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In re Emily V.

Court of Appeals of Nebraska

October 8, 2013

In re Interest of Emily V., a child under 18 years of age.
v.
Amanda V., appellant. State of Nebraska, appellee, v.

NOT DESIGNATED FOR PERMANENT PUBLICATION

Appeal from the Separate Juvenile Court of Douglas County: Christopher Kelly, Judge. Affirmed.

Peder Bartling, of Bartling Law Offices, P.C., L.L.O., for appellant.

Donald W. Kleine, Douglas County Attorney, and Amy Schuchman for appellee.

Inbody, Chief Judge, and Irwin and Riedmann, Judges.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND JUDGMENT ON APPEAL

Irwin, Judge.

I.INTRODUCTION

Amanda V. appeals from the order of the juvenile court which terminated her parental rights to her daughter, Emily V. On appeal, Amanda challenges the juvenile court's finding that her parental rights should be terminated pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat. § 43-292(2) (Cum. Supp. 2012) and the court's finding that termination of her parental rights is in Emily's best interests. Upon our de novo review of the record, we find that the State presented sufficient evidence to warrant termination of Amanda's parental rights. As such, we affirm the order of the juvenile court terminating Amanda's parental rights to Emily.

II.BACKGROUND

Amanda has struggled with a drug addiction and with mental health problems for a number of years. As a result of Amanda's struggles, she has a lengthy history with the juvenile court systems in both Nebraska and Iowa. Amanda's history with the juvenile court is relevant to the current proceedings, because such history provides insight into her ability to independently parent Emily. As a result, we recount her history here.

Amanda's history with the juvenile court system began in March 2005, when Amanda's oldest child, Samantha L., born in October 1999, was placed in the custody of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (the Department). In March 2005, Samantha was being cared for by a relative and had not resided with Amanda for approximately 6 months. The State filed a petition alleging that Samantha was within the meaning of Neb. Rev. Stat. § 43-247(3)(a) (Reissue 2004) due to, among other things, Amanda's use of methamphetamines and her neglect of Samantha.

In January 2007, almost 2 years after Samantha was placed in the Department's custody, the juvenile court entered an order terminating Amanda's parental rights to Samantha. In the order, the court found that despite 17 months of intervention and services, Amanda had failed to make sufficient progress toward reunification with Samantha. The services offered to Amanda during the proceedings included a psychiatric and psychological evaluation, a chemical dependency evaluation, inpatient and outpatient treatment programs, random drug testing, and supervised visits with Samantha. Amanda failed to follow through with any mental health or substance abuse treatment. She did not stop using methamphetamines during the entire pendency of the case. And, Amanda did not attend visitations with Samantha, nor did she even attend the termination hearing.

Amanda's history with the juvenile court system continued in Iowa in December 2007. At this time, Amanda's 4-month-old son, Nathaniel H., was removed from her care and placed in the custody of the Iowa Department of Human Services after Amanda admitted to using methamphetamines. Subsequently, Nathaniel was adjudicated to be a child in need of assistance. See Iowa Code Ann. § 232.2(6)(c)(2) and (n) (West 2007).

Nathaniel was returned to Amanda's care in May 2008; however, by September 2009, Amanda indicated that she was unable to care for him due to her mental health problems, and she relinquished his care to her sister. Nathaniel was subsequently returned to the custody of the Iowa Department of Human Services.

In January 2009, Amanda had a third child, Luis H. At the time of his birth, Luis tested positive for prescription pain medications. Amanda retained custody of Luis, but struggled to care for him. In October 2009, Luis was removed from Amanda's custody ...


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