In re Interest of Deziree K. et. al

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In re Interest of Deziree K. et. al

Caselaw No.
Filed on
Tuesday, March 27, 2012

SUMMARY: Termination of parental rights was proper where the parents had an extensive drug history, involvement in Satanic worship, chronic unemployment and lack of housing, inability to progress past supervised visitation, and inability to understand the baby’s high level medical needs. N.R.S. 43-292.03, which outlines exceptions to the requirement of filing a TPR petition does not toll the 15 of 22 month clock.

Deziree, DOB 9/98, Lily, DOB 5/02, Lucas, DOB 1/06, and Harley, DOB 9/09, were removed from the parents’ home in October 2009 after several hotline calls, incidents of being under the influence while caring for Harley, and the mother driving under the influence of methadone and cocaine with Harley being in an unsecured car seat. Over the course of the case, the parents never progressed past supervised visitation and often seemed uninterested and failed to interact at visits. Both parents were involved in Satanic rituals in the family home, made drug runs with the children and had extensive criminal histories. The father had also stated that he had demons inside him, that he could be a serial killer and that he would put curses on caseworkers. Family support work was provided to them for 17 months but they made no consistent improvement. The three oldest children had mental health issues including posttraumatic stress. Harley was a medically fragile baby that needed special attention but the parents missed therapy visits or seemed disinterested. On January 26, 2011, the State filed a motion to terminate parental rights. After trial in July 2011, the court terminated parental rights. The parents appealed.

The Nebraska Court of Appeals affirmed the termination of parental rights. It first found that the children had been out of home more than 15 of the past 22 months. The Court of Appeals then noted the parents’ drug and alcohol abuse, mental health issues, chronic unemployment and inability to maintain housing, involvement in Satanic worship, lack of positive interactions with the children, inability to understand the seriousness of Harley’s needs and the inability to move past supervised visitation as being sufficient evidence that termination is in the children’s best interests. Finally, the Court of Appeals rejected the notion that the 15 out of 22 month clock should toll pursuant to N.R.S. 43-292.03, which only speaks to exceptions for the filing of a TPR.