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In re Paxton H.

Supreme Court of Nebraska

July 6, 2018

In re Interest of Paxton H., a child under 18 years of age.
v.
Patrick H. and Penny H, appellees. Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, appellant,

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

         2. Juvenile Courts: Jurisdiction: Appeal and Error. In a juvenile case, as in any other appeal, before reaching the legal issues presented for review, it is the duty of an appellate court to determine whether it has jurisdiction over the matter before it.

         3. Juvenile Courts: Costs: Final Orders. An order in a juvenile case which directs the Department of Health and Human Services to pay for the costs of treatment is a final order for purposes of Neb. Rev. Stat. §25-1902 (Reissue 2016).

         4. Juvenile Courts. Juvenile courts have the authority to assent to and dissent from decisions of the Department of Health and Human Services with respect to what care, placement, services, and expenditures are in the best interests of juveniles under its care and custody.

         5. Appeal and Error. Appellate courts will not consider issues on appeal that were not presented to or passed upon by the trial court.

          Appeal from the Separate Juvenile Court of Lancaster County: Toni G. Thorson, Judge. Affirmed.

          Douglas J. Peterson, Attorney General, and C.J. Roberts, Special Assistant Attorney General, for appellant.

          Lisa Gonzalez, of Johnson & Pekny, L.L.C., for appellees.

         [300 Neb. 447] Heavican, C.J., Miller-Lerman, Cassel, Stacy, Funke, and Papik, JJ., and Johnson, District Judge.

          PAPIK, J.

         The separate juvenile court of Lancaster County ordered the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to arrange and pay for Paxton H, a juvenile in its care and custody, to receive mental health services at a facility in Kansas. DHHS challenges that order. While DHHS acknowledges that Paxton requires certain services, it contends that Paxton can receive those services in Nebraska and that local services would better serve his needs. Following our de novo review of the record, we determine that the juvenile court's order was in Paxton's best interests, and we therefore affirm.

         BACKGROUND

         In the sections below, we set forth how Paxton came into the custody of DHHS and the circumstances that led to the order at issue in this appeal.

         Paxton 's ...


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