In re Interest of Alisondra V. et. al

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In re Interest of Alisondra V. et. al

Caselaw No.
A-12-593 through A-12-596
Filed on
Tuesday, March 12, 2013

SUMMARY: Termination of parental rights was proper where the mother did not show continued improvement over the two years the children were in foster care, the children thrived when they did not have contact with the mother, and the mother failed to take responsibility and instead blamed the children for her problems.

After a failed voluntary, non-court case, the children (Anthony (DOB: 12/2002), Victoria (DOB: 12/2001), Alisondra (DOB: 2/2005) and Bryan (DOB: 9/06)) were removed from the mother’s home on May 28, 2010, due to ongoing hotline calls of physical abuse and neglect. The children were adjudicated under N.R.S. 43-247(3)(a) on August 23, 2010, and a disposition hearing was held on October 5, 2010. Since removal, the mother had had supervised visitation with the children. Those visits changed to semisupervised on October 14, 2010, and reports showed the mother cooperating with services. However, on December 6, the mother was arrested for false reporting and allegations arose on December 7 that one of her children was having sex with her father, the mother’s ex-husband, Chad. The mother was incarcerated and petitioned for ongoing visits in the jail but the children’s therapist did not think visits through glass would be useful and the children instead wrote letters. Evidence at a review hearing on July 12, 2011, suggested that the children were thriving, happy and had improved behaviors. The therapist recommended suspending visits to maintain the children’s behaviors but visitation resumed when the mother was released on August 4, 2011. One week later, the mother assaulted another person and was again incarcerated through the end of the year. At an October 24, 2011, review hearing, the court approved a permanency goal change from reunification to termination of parental rights with a concurrent plan of guardianship. When the children resumed visits with the mother, their behaviors regressed and at a January 23, 2012, review hearing, DHHS noted little progress in the case and that the mother was having ongoing contact with Chad, which resulted in the court finding reasonable efforts were no longer required. The State filed a motion to terminate parental rights and after trial on April 20 and 30, 2012, the court  terminated the mother’s parental rights to the children. The mother appealed.

The Nebraska Court of Appeals affirmed the court’s decision. After finding the children were out of home more than 15 of the past 22 months, it addressed whether termination was in the children’s best interests. The Court of Appeals reviewed the evidence and found that the mother had diminishing progress in the case, was defiant and resistant in cooperating with service providers, and made poor choices that resulted in ongoing incarcerations that kept her away from her children. It also noted the children’s deterioration of behaviors when in contact with the mother.