In re Interest of Marcella G.

Caselaw Number
287 Neb. 566
Filed On

Summary: This case concerns the placement of a juvenile to the state’s youth rehabilitation and treatment center (YRTC) in Geneva on July 8, 2013. Prior to placement at the YRTC, the minor child was committed to the Office of Juvenile Services (OJS) for community-based services on March 12, 2013. The Department of Health and Human Services argued that since placement to YRTC occurred following July 1, 2013, the juvenile could only be placed at YRTC as a part of an order of Intensive Supervised Probation (ISP). The Court found that since the original commitment date to OJS was March 12, 2013, Neb. Rev. Stat. 43-247.02(3) controlled, and the process for commitment to the YRTC for juveniles placed in OJS custody prior to July 1, 2013 need not be part of an order of ISP.

Marcella G. was adjudicated for a misdemeanor on March 1, 2013 and following a dispositional hearing she was committed to OJS for treatment at an out-of-home level of care. On July 5, 2013 the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), filed a motion for a higher level of care. DHHS argued that since the motion was filed after July 1, 2013, Neb. Rev. Stat. 43-247.02(2) controlled, which states that after July 1, 2013 a juvenile court cannot commit a juvenile to OJS for placement at a YRTC except as part of an order of ISP. The minor child, however, relied on Neb. Rev. Stat. 43-247.02(3), which states that “nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the authority or duties of DHHS in relation to juveniles … who were committed to the care and custody of DHHS prior to October 1, 2013 to OJS for community-based services prior to October 1, 2013…shall continue in accordance with the Nebraska Juvenile Code and the Juvenile Services Act as such acts existed on January 1, 2013.” The Supreme Court acknowledged that LB 561 was passed in order to transfer duties from OJS, in regards to community-based care, to the Office of Probation Administration as provided in Neb. Rev. Stat. 43-4102. However, the court found that given the plain-language of the statute, “the date a juvenile is committed to OJS for treatment is controlling, not the date of a subsequent transfer to a YRTC.” The order of the Separate Juvenile Court, committing Marcella G. to YRTC without making the placement a part of an order of ISP was affirmed.