In re Interest of Nathanie M. et. al

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Filed On

SUMMARY: Termination of parental rights was proper where the mother failed to complete dual-diagnosis treatment, failed to comply with drug testing, did not take prescribed medication, could not manage the children together during visits and failed to consistently participate in NA.

Nathaniel, DOB 3/05, Jaisean, DOB 8/08, and Chakara, DOB 12/09, were removed from the home of the mother, Brylona, on November 18, 2011, after multiple reports were received about Brylona leaving the youngest children unsupervised for long periods of time. The 3a petition also alleged Brylona used alcohol and/or controlled substances, engaged in domestic violence in the children’s presence, subjected the children to inappropriate discipline, had untreated mental health problems, and failed to give Nathaniel necessary medication. On December 19, 2011, Brylona admitted to portions of the petition and the court ordered her to participate in a treatment program for substance abuse and mental health issues. She was also ordered to submit to random drug testing, complete a parenting assessment and class, complete a psychiatric evaluation and attend other therapeutic services. Brylona began a dual diagnosis, inpatient treatment program in November 2011, but soon left because she did not like the director. She admitted to relapsing after the leaving the program and was discharged from drug testing programs three times due to non-compliance. She failed to participate in NA, did not address her mental health issues and was not taking necessary medication. She also didn’t attend therapy until February 2013. Brylona did complete a parenting assessment and class but struggled with parenting abilities, requiring separate visits with each of her children. Review hearings were held in February, March and August 2012, and in February 2013. On March 26, 2013, the State filed a motion to terminate her parental rights. After trial on May 2, 2013, the court terminated Brylona’s parental rights. Brylona appealed.

The Nebraska Court of Appeals affirmed the termination. It first found that the children were out of home more than 15 of the past 22 months, thus satisfying grounds for termination under N.R.S. 43-292. As to best interests, the Court of Appeals reviewed the evidence and found her efforts in February 2013 as “too little too late.” It held Brylona made no real effort at reunification until her children had been out of home 15 months and that she didn’t recognize the necessity of substance abuse treatment given her strong crack cocaine addiction. It found Brylona was no closer to reunifying with the children at trial than she had been in November 2011.