In re Interest of J'Endlessly F. et al.,
Julia M., Appellant. Children Under 18 Years of Age. State of Nebraska, Appellee,
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.
Constitutional Law: Due Process. The determination of whether
the procedures afforded an individual comport with
constitutional requirements for procedural due process
presents a question of law.
Appeal and Error. On a question of law, an appellate court
reaches a conclusion independently of the court below.
Parental Rights: Proof. Under Neb. Rev. Stat. § 43-292
(Reissue 2016), in order to terminate parental rights, the
State must prove, by clear and convincing evidence, that one
or more of the statutory grounds listed in this section have
been satisfied and that termination is in the child's
Constitutional Law: Parental Rights. The proper starting
point for legal analysis when the State involves itself in
family relations is always the fundamental constitutional
rights of a parent.
Parental Rights: Proof. Before the State attempts to force a
breakup of a natural family, over the objections of the
parents and their children, the State must prove parental
__:__. A court may not properly deprive a parent of the
custody of his or her minor child unless the State
affirmatively establishes that such parent is unfit to
perform the duties imposed by the relationship, or has
forfeited that right.
__:__. It is always the State's burden to prove by clear
and convincing evidence that the parent is unfit and that the
child's best interests are served by his or her continued
removal from parental custody.
Neb.App. 498] 9. Parental Rights: Statutes: Words and
Phrases. The term "unfitness" is not expressly used
in Neb. Rev. Stat. § 43-292 (Reissue 2016), but the
concept is generally encompassed by the fault and neglect
subsections of that statute, and also through a determination
of the child's best interests.
Parental Rights: Evidence: Proof. Generally, when termination
of parental rights is sought, the evidence adduced to prove
the statutory grounds for termination will also be highly
relevant to the best interests of the juvenile, as it would
show abandonment, neglect, unfitness, or abuse.
Parental Rights: Parent and Child. In proceedings to
terminate parental rights, the law does not require
perfection of a parent; instead, courts should look for the
parent's continued improvement in parenting skills and a
beneficial relationship between parent and child.
Parental Rights. Although incarceration alone cannot be the
sole basis for terminating parental rights, it is a factor to
. Children cannot, and should not, be suspended in foster
care or be made to await uncertain parental maturity.
Constitutional Law: Due Process. Procedural due process
includes notice to the person whose right is affected by the
proceeding; reasonable opportunity to refute or defend
against the charge or accusation; reasonable opportunity to
confront and cross-examine adverse witnesses and present
evidence on the charge or accusation; representation by
counsel, when such representation is required by the
Constitution or statutes; and a hearing before an impartial
from the Separate Juvenile Court of Douglas County: Douglas
F. Johnson, Judge. Affirmed.
A. Wells, of Law Office of Judith A. Wells, for appellant.
W. Kleine, Douglas County Attorney, Jennifer C. Clark,
Natalie J. Killion, and Joseph Fabian, Senior Certified Law
Student, for appellee.
Pirtle, Riedmann, and Welch, Judges.
M. appeals the order of the separate juvenile court of
Douglas County which terminated her parental rights to [26
Neb.App. 499] her minor children. ...