In re Interest of Nemiah F.

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SUMMARY: Evidence that the mother had six children previously removed from her care and had not addressed the issue that put her children at risk was sufficient to support terminating her parental rights to her seventh child.

After Nemiah (DOB 12/2013) tested positive for methamphetamines and cocaine at birth, the State of Nebraska filed a petition alleging Nemiah lacked proper parental care by the reason of the faults or habits of her mother, Danielle.Danielle admitted to using cocaine while she was pregnant with Nemiah. The State filed an amended petition on December 17, 2013 that alleged that terminating Danielle’s parental rights was in Nemiah’s best interests. At the adjudication and termination hearing held February 28, 2014, evidence established that Nemiah was born healthy and without any birth defects, but had tested positive for amphetamines, methamphetamine, and cocaine at birth.Danielle was offered numerous services but never consistently participated in drug testing. Danielle did consistently visit with Nemiah and the visitation worker testified that visits went well. There was also evidence that Danielle’s six older children had been previously removed from the home due to Danielle’s drug and alcohol use, and that Danielle had inconsistently participated in the services that were offered in conjunction with those cases. Danielle was never able to reunify with any of her older children and relinquished her rights to those children. The juvenile court adjudicated Nemiah and terminated Danielle’s parental rights.

The Nebraska Court of Appeals affirmed the termination of parental rights. There was evidence of Danielle’s prior history of neglecting her older children and her inability to address safety concerns. The juvenile court could properly consider Danielle’s relinquishments of parental rights because an individual’s history as a party is relevant in subsequent juvenile cases. Danielle’s pattern of failing to participate in services or to address her drug use placed her children, including Nemiah, at risk of harm. The fact that Danielle was involved in the system for so long with so many different cases demonstrated that the cycle was continuing and the safety threat had yet to be addressed.Thus, termination of Danielle’s parental rights was in Nemiah’s best interests.