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In re Julia D.

Court of Appeals of Nebraska

September 6, 2016

In re Interest of Julia D., a child under 18 years of age.
v.
Diana S., appellant. State of Nebraska, appellee,

         NOT DESIGNATED FOR PERMANENT PUBLICATION

         Appeal from the Separate Juvenile Court of Douglas County: Douglas F. Johnson, Judge.

          Thomas C. Riley, Douglas County Public Defender, and Zoë R. Wade for appellant

          Donald W. Kleine, Douglas County Attorney, and Jennifer C. Clark for appellee.

          Susanne Dempsey Cook, guardian ad item.

          Moore, Chief Judge, and Irwin and Pirtle, Judges.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND JUDGMENT ON APPEAL (MEMORANDUM WEB OPINION)

          Pirtle, Judge.

         INTRODUCTION

         Diana S. appeals from an order of the separate juvenile court of Douglas County granting an objection to a proposed change of placement for her daughter, Julia D., and striking the permanency objective of reunification and ordering that no further reasonable efforts for reunification be provided to Diana. Based on the reasons that follow, we affirm.

         BACKGROUND

         Julia was born in December 2014 and was removed from Diana's care upon her discharge from the hospital because the hospital staff was concerned about Diana's mental health and believed that it affected her ability to provide for the child's basic needs. Julia was placed in the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services and placed in a foster home where she has remained since she was three days old.

         On December 23, 2014, the State filed a petition to adjudicate Julia alleging that she was homeless or destitute, or without proper support through no fault of Diana. It alleged that Diana had been diagnosed with psychosis and that this mental condition made her unable to provide proper parental care, support and supervision of Julia, and that she was unable to provide safe, stable, and/or appropriate housing, making Julia at risk for harm.

         The juvenile court entered an adjudication order on June 18, 2015, finding that Julia was within the meaning of Neb. Rev. Stat. § 43-247(3)(a) (Cum. Supp. 2014) by a preponderance of the evidence and through no fault of her mother. The juvenile court ordered that Julia remain placed outside the parental home.

         Amy Hagler, Julia's case worker, tried to identify suitable relatives to take placement of Julia. She identified Patrick and Deloris Collins (the Collinses), who live in Vancouver, Washington, as a potential relative placement for Julia. Deloris is Diana's first cousin. Hagler had to apply for an Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) home study on the Collinses to be completed by the State of Washington before they could be approved for placement of Julia.

         A disposition hearing was held on August 13, 2015. A court report and case plan dated August 6, prepared by Hagler, was entered into evidence. Hagler reported that since December 29, 2014, Diana had attended 25 out of 46 supervised visits offered to her. When she did participate in visits, she would frequently refuse redirection from the visitation worker and would end visits early. The case plan noted that as of July 27, 2015, Diana had not participated in visitation since March. The report also stated that since December 2014, Diana has refused to address her "severe and persistent mental illness." It stated that at a team meeting in June 2015, Diana was informed that she needed to address her mental health, but she continues to refuse. The report concluded that overall, Diana's progress has been poor, due to her refusal to address her mental illness and her lack of consistent participation in offered services. Hagler recommended that a concurrent plan of adoption be accepted by the court.

         Following the August 13, 2015, disposition hearing, the juvenile court ordered that the permanency objective for Julia was reunification by May 30, 2016 with a concurrent plan of adoption. The court further stated that ...


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