May 2010 Through the Eyes of the Child Initiative E-Newsletter

May 2010 E-Newsletter

Through the Eyes of the Child Initiative

May is Foster Care Awareness Month.
 Did you know that.....
  • There are 4,250 children currently in foster care in Nebraska
  • Nebraska's removal rate to foster care is among the highest in the United States
  • The average length of stay for a child in Nebraska foster care is approximately 12 months
  • 66% of children in foster care are eventually reunified with their families

2009 Nebraska Children’s Summit video presentations are now available online
Watch the breakout and plenary sessions from the 2009 Children’s Summit in Grand Island on September 9-11th.  Attorneys may earn CLE credits for viewing the majority of the presentations (follow the instructions in the right-hand column).

You can also view Through their Eyes: A View from Nebraska’s Foster Youth, a short 15-minute video that was introduced at the Children’s Summit and is now available online.  DVD copies of the video may be purchased for $5. Proceeds will be donated to the Nebraska Foster Youth Council.

2010 Lecture Series
Time is running out to register to attend free and informative trainings on two very important topics in the child welfare system.  Learn more about improving our response to child welfare cases that involve Native American children and about focusing on a foster child’s relationship with her siblings while in care.
Advanced Indian Child Welfare Act Issues
Sherri Eveleth, DHHS ICWA Program Specialist
    May 21: Valentine
Enhancing Sibling Connections
Rose Wentz, National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections
    June 8: Grand Island
    June 9: Omaha
There is no cost to attend but you must register in advance.  CLE credits are available and costs $15.  Those registered for CLE credits will also receive Advanced GAL credit.  For more information about the trainings, click here.

Spotlight Issue
Recognizing the New Reality of Diverse Parentage: A Call for Reason in the Juvenile Dependency Justice System
by Jackie Madara-Campell, Family and Juvenile Law Omaha, Christensen & Madara

You’re seven years old, scared and want your mom. Four days ago, some strangers took you from your home and now you’re living with other strangers calling themselves foster parents. When you ask where your mom is, these strangers explain that she’s sick and can’t take care of you. In truth, she’s addicted to prescription painkillers and has an undiagnosed mental illness. Nobody knows where she is.
But you’ve got two parents. So why are you here with these strangers? What you don’t know is that you’re trapped in one of the biggest holes in our juvenile justice system.  Full Article

Save the Dates for Helping Babies from the Bench workshops and 2010 Regional Conferences
Please mark your calendars to attend one of our all-day regional conferences in Scottsbluff, Hastings, Norfolk and Lincoln.  Click here for more information.

Phase II of Helping Babies from the Bench will begin in August.  This training will address advanced issues on babies and toddlers in the court system and focus on how this information should be used during the life of an abuse-neglect case.  The afternoon session will include a workshop for a core team that will work on developing an action plan for implementation in their area.  Click here for more information.  If you would like to be a part of the core team in your area, please contact Kelli Hauptman. 

Legislative Update: Juvenile Review Panels and Video conference hearings
Legislative Bill 800, which pertains to Nebraska's juvenile justice system, was signed into law by the Governor on April 13, 2010.  LB 800 covers a variety of issues including early intervention on youth crime, parental involvement, school attendance, alternatives to detention, authority of probation officers in imposing sanctions, and sealing juvenile records. Related to abuse/neglect cases, the bill also eliminates the use of three-judge appeal panels (aka juvenile review panels) and approves the use of telephonic and video conferencing for all non-evidentiary hearings and all evidentiary hearings with the consent of the parties.  LB 800 was passed by senators 48-0.

Listen to Oral Argument of Abuse/Neglect Cases
Oral arguments in abuse/neglect cases made before the Nebraska Supreme Court and Nebraska Court of Appeals are available on the Through the Eyes website.  You may stream the audio on your computer, or download it to play on an iPod or other mobile device.  

Oral arguments held in April:
  • In re Interest of Shayla H., A-09-1142, Nebraska Court of Appeals (judicial notice of trial after reversal on appeal for failure to comply with ICWA)
To access all available oral argument archives, click here.

Caselaw Summaries
Trying to find an abuse/neglect case but can’t remember the case name?  Use our search engine for abuse/neglect cases since 2006.  Cases can be searched by keyword.  To begin a search, click here.

In re Interest of Ipolita B. (Unpublished opinion, April 20, 2010) It was improper for the juvenile court to deny DHHS’ recommendation for placement and instead place the child with a family friend primarily because the child’s older half-brother already lived in the DHHS-recommended placement.  Full Summary

In re Interest of Carrdale H. II (_____ N.W.2d _____, 18 Neb. App. 350, April 27, 2010) Evidence proving mere possession of crack cocaine by the father without any showing that it affected the child does not establish a definite risk of future harm, and adjudication of the child on this basis was therefore improper. Full Summary

In re Interest of Dylan S. (Unpublished opinion, April 27, 2010) Evidence of the father’s unstable and inappropriate living conditions for housing his toddler child and his inability to be alert and attentive due to his mental health conditions and prescription medications were sufficient for the child to be adjudicated.  Full Summary




Through the Eyes of the Child Initiative

Phone: 402-472-3479

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