In re Interest of Keylen E. & Ty Onna J.

Caselaw Number
Filed On

SUMMARY: Termination of a father’s parental rights was in the child’s best interest when the child had spent the majority of his life in foster care. In addition, the father made little effort to keep in contact with the child and was not in a position to take physical custody. 

On August 30, 2012, the State of Nebraska filed a supplemental petition alleging Keylen (DOB 3/2006) was placed at risk of harm due to the faults or habits of his father, Paul. Keylen had first been removed from his mother’s care in July of 2007. Keylen had continuously been in foster care since June of 2010 but Paul did not move to intervene in the case until February 3, 2012. Keylen was adjudicated under the supplemental petition on March 12, 2013. The State filed a motion to terminate Paul’s parental rights on June 20, 2013. At the termination hearing held September 13, 2013, there was evidence that Paul had frequently been arrested and incarcerated for drug related crimes. Paul was incarcerated at the time of the hearing for his third DWI offense; Paul testified that he would be released to a halfway house in ten months. There was evidence that Paul had been offered services such as family support but had refused everything except a chemical dependency evaluation. Keylen was placed with Paul’s sister and was doing well in his placement. Keylen had been diagnosed with ADHD and oppositional defiant disorder and was working with a therapist on his coping and social skills. In addition, Keylan had physical delays that required him to wear a brace. Paul did visit Keylen when he was not incarcerated and there was evidence that there was a close bond between the two, but Paul had not made any effort to contact Keylen since his most recent arrest. The juvenile court terminated Paul’s parental rights as to Keylen on September 18, 2013.

The Nebraska Court of Appeals affirmed the termination of Paul’s parental rights. The Court noted that Paul had been incarcerated for most of Keylen’s life for drug and alcohol-related crimes. Though Paul did make an effort to ensure Keylen was placed with a family member and had participated in some visits, Paul never put himself in a position to physically care for Keylen. Because Paul would not be able to provide care for Keylen anytime in the near future, termination was in Keylen’s best interests.