In re Interest of Nathaniel P.

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In re Interest of Nathaniel P.

Caselaw No.
22 Neb. App. 46
Filed on
Tuesday, May 27, 2014

SUMMARY: An order temporarily suspending the educational rights of the parent is not final and appealable.

Nathaniel, born in 2006, was removed from the home of the mother, Ashley, in November 2012 due to abuse and neglect. Nathaniel was adjudicated under 3a in February 2013 and a dispositional hearing was held in March 2013. At a review hearing on June 17, 2013, there was evidence suggesting Ashley was not participating in services and failed to recognize or address Nathaniel’s developmental delays. Nathaniel’s GAL recommended that Ashley’s educational rights be suspended. During the hearing, the court stated that it would “suspend [Ashley’s] educational rights, at least on a temporary basis at this time,” and authorized DHHS to appoint a surrogate. A court order entered the next day stated that Ashley’s educational rights were suspended. Ashley appealed.

The Court of Appeals dismissed the appeal. While addressing whether the order was final and appealable, the Court of Appeals equated the temporary suspension of education rights to a temporary suspension of a parent’s visitation rights, which the Nebraska Supreme Court has held not final and appealable in In re Interest of Danaisha W. et al., 287 Neb. 27, 840 N.W.2d 533 (2013), and to a temporary prohibition on free speech as to their child’s medical condition, which it found not final in In re Interest of T.T., 18 Neb. App. 176, 779 N.W.2d 602 (2009). Although the order itself did not note the suspension as temporary, the Court of Appeals found that the word “suspend” denotes a temporary nature, that the temporary nature was stated by the court on the record during the hearing, and that the court asked DHHS to submit an earlier report to advise her of Ashley’s progress and gave Ashley the opportunity for an earlier review to possibly regain her educational rights. The Court of Appeals concluded that because of the short period of time, a substantial right was not affected and the order was therefore not final.