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In re Enyce J.

Supreme Court of Nebraska

October 16, 2015

In re Interest of Enyce J. and Eternity M., children under 18 years of age. State of Nebraska, appellee,
v.
Erica J., appellee, Mark S., appellant, and Roberta S., appellee

Page 414

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 415

Appeal from the Separate Juvenile Court of Douglas County: WADIE THOMAS, Judge.

Nicholas E. Wurth, of Law Offices of Nicholas E. Wurth, P.C., for appellant Mark S. and appellee Roberta S.

Donald W. Kleine, Douglas County Attorney, Shakil Malik, and Jocelyn Brasher, Senior Certified Law Student, for appellee State of Nebraska.

Patrick A. Campagna and Britt H. Dudzinski, of Lustgarten & Roberts, P.C., L.L.O., for appellee Erica J.

HEAVICAN, C.J., WRIGHT, CONNOLLY, McCORMACK, MILLER-LERMAN, and CASSEL, JJ.

OPINION

Page 416

[291 Neb. 967] Connolly, J.

SUMMARY

The juvenile court determined that it had jurisdiction over a minor child, Eternity M., because of the faults or habits of her mother, Erica J. The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (Department) placed Eternity with foster parents Mark S. and Roberta S. The court later dismissed Mark and Roberta's complaint to intervene and ordered the Department to place Eternity with her maternal aunt in Nevada.

Mark appeals. He argues that the court should have allowed him and Roberta to intervene and that a change of placement was not in Eternity's best interests. Erica argues that we do not have jurisdiction to review the placement order because Mark--as a foster parent--does not have standing. We conclude that Mark lacks standing to appeal the order changing Eternity's placement and that the court did not err by dismissing Mark and Roberta's complaint to intervene. We affirm.

BACKGROUND

The Douglas County Sheriff arrested Erica in August 2013 regarding a homicide. Erica had one child, Enyce J., at the time of her arrest. In September 2013, the State petitioned to adjudicate Enyce under Neb. Rev. Stat. § 43-247(3)(a) (Reissue 2008).

Erica gave birth to a daughter, Eternity, in April 2014. A Department employee spoke with Erica, who was under police restraint, at the hospital within 24 hours of the birth. Erica declined to identify the father but suggested that her sister, Deseyre M., who lived in Nevada, might be a placement resource.

On April 4, 2014, the State filed a second supplemental petition alleging that Eternity was within the juvenile court's jurisdiction under § 43-247(3)(a) (Supp. 2013). The court gave the Department temporary custody of Eternity.

[291 Neb. 968] One day later, the Department placed Eternity with Mark and Roberta. Six days later, the court ordered the Department to start background checks on several relatives for possible placement, including Deseyre.

In August 2014, the court held a hearing on the second supplemental petition. A family permanency specialist testified that she contacted Deseyre, gathered information from her, and requested an investigation under the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC).[1] The specialist explained that an ICPC investigation had to be completed because Deseyre did not live in Nebraska.

Later in August, the court determined that it had jurisdiction under ยง 43-247(3)(a). The court continued the ...


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