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In re Jaiden L.

Court of Appeals of Nebraska

December 31, 2013

In re Interest of Jaiden L., a child under 18 years of age.
v.
Jamie L., appellant. State of Nebraska, appellee,

NOT DESIGNATED FOR PERMANENT PUBLICATION

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

Regina T. Makaitis for appellant.

Donald W. Kleine, Douglas County Attorney, Amy N. Schuchman, and Patrick C. McGee, Senior Certified Law Student, for appellee.

Irwin, Pirtle, and Bishop, Judges.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND JUDGMENT ON APPEAL

Irwin, Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

Jamie L. appeals from the order of the juvenile court which terminated her parental rights to her daughter, Jaiden L. On appeal, Jamie challenges the juvenile court's finding that her parental rights should be terminated pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat. § 43-292(2), (6), and (7) (Cum. Supp. 2012) and the court's finding that termination of her parental rights is in Jaiden's best interests. In addition, Jamie asserts that the juvenile court erred in denying her motion for visitation pending this appeal of the termination of her parental rights and in denying her motion for family therapy.

Upon our de novo review of the record, we find that the State presented sufficient evidence to warrant termination of Jamie's parental rights. In addition, we find that Jamie's assertion regarding the juvenile court's denial of her motion for visitation pending this appeal is now moot. We decline to consider Jamie's assertion concerning the motion for family therapy due to her failure to provide any argument in support of this assertion. As such, we affirm the order of the juvenile court in its entirety.

II. BACKGROUND

These proceedings involve Jaiden, born in August 2003. Jamie is Jaiden's biological mother. Jaiden's biological father is not a party to this appeal, and thus, his participation in the juvenile court proceedings will not be discussed further.

The current juvenile court proceedings were initiated in August 2011. However, this is not the first time that Jamie and Jaiden have been involved with the juvenile court system. In September 2005, when Jaiden was 2 years old, she was removed from Jamie's care as a result of Jamie's use of methamphetamine. After Jaiden was removed from Jamie's care, Jamie participated in an inpatient drug treatment program and in individual therapy. Ultimately, Jaiden was returned to Jamie's care in May 2008, after spending over 2V2 years in a foster home. The juvenile court proceedings were officially concluded in January 2009.

On August 10, 2011, the Department of Health and Human Services (the Department) received an anonymous report concerning Jamie and Jaiden. The reporter expressed concern about the living conditions at Jamie's home and indicated a belief that Jamie was using drugs again. After the Department received this report, an employee of the Department visited Jamie's home. The employee observed that the home was extremely dirty and unsanitary. There was no running water in the home, and there was garbage cluttering the floors. In addition, a drug test was administered to Jamie and she tested positive for methamphetamine.

Jaiden was removed from Jamie's care on August 23, 2011. Immediately after Jaiden's removal, the State filed a petition alleging that Jaiden was within the meaning of Neb. Rev. Stat. § 43-247(3)(a) (Reissue 2008), because Jamie's home was "in a filthy and unwholesome condition" and because Jamie was using a controlled substance and, as a result, had failed to provide Jaiden with appropriate housing and with proper care and support, which put Jaiden at risk for harm. This petition is the basis for the current juvenile court proceedings.

After the petition was filed, the juvenile court entered an order placing Jaiden in the immediate custody of the Department. Jaiden has remained in the custody of the Department and placed outside of Jamie's home since her removal in August 2011. Notably, Jaiden is currently placed in the same foster home that she previously resided in from September 2005 through May 2008.

On August 31, 2011, an initial hearing was held. At this hearing, Jamie voluntarily agreed to participate with family support services, a pretreatment assessment which was to include a chemical dependency component, and random drug testing. In addition, Jamie was permitted to have supervised visitation with Jaiden.

On December 22, 2011, the State filed an amended petition alleging that Jaiden was within the meaning of § 43-247(3)(a). In the amended petition, the State again alleged that Jaiden was at risk for harm because in August 2011, Jamie's residence was found to be in a filthy and unwholesome condition and because Jamie was using controlled substances. In addition, the amended petition alleged that Jamie's home was again found to be in a filthy and unwholesome condition in November and that despite Jamie's voluntary agreement to submit to random drug testing, she had failed to cooperate with any such testing.

Shortly after the State filed its amended petition, it also filed an ex parte motion to suspend Jamie's visitation with Jaiden. This motion was based on the recommendation of Jaiden's therapist, Brenda Ticknor. Ticknor reported that Jaiden did not have a desire to see Jamie and that the visits between Jaiden and Jamie were making Jaiden feel uncomfortable. Ticknor believed that forcing Jaiden to have contact with Jamie was not beneficial. Based ...


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