In re Interest of Nicholas K.

Caselaw Number
No. S-17-531
Filed On

Summary:  Nicholas appeals a disposition order from the Separate Juvenile Court of Douglas County which placed him in a residential group home. The question here is whether the order complied with Neb. Rev. Stat. § 43-251.01(7) requiring that available community based resources be exhausted and there is a risk of harm to the community or the juvenile if the juvenile remains in the home. The Court finds that the order does comply and so affirms.

Nicholas was adjudicated on a status offense for use of alcohol or a controlled substance. At arraignment in March, he stated he was in individual therapy currently and previously went through IOP at Journeys, but did not finish.

At disposition, the Court considered the PDI, chemical dependency evaluation, and letters from his therapist. Probation recommended that Nicholas receive probation for 6 months and that he attend outpatient treatment and participate in intensive family support. Nicholas agreed, but requested that NA or AA be considered if he cannot find group therapy to attend. The Court disagreed based on the evidence and said that Nicholas clearly is not taking his drug use or treatment seriously. Based on the fact that Nicholas already went to IOP and was in services currently that were not working, the Court ordered Nicholas to receive residential treatment at Boys Town and that application should be made.

At the continued disposition, Nicholas was accepted into Boys Town. Probation continued to recommend outpatient and family support, but the Court asked for placement at Boys Town based on the fact that he had exhausted community based resources. The Court ultimately ordered Nicholas placed at Boys Town and found that it would be contrary to his welfare to remain in the family home and that reasonable efforts had been made to prevent his removal, but failed.

Nicholas assigns error to his commitment to the group home when less restrictive alternatives existed.

An appellate court reviews juvenile cases de novo on the record. In re Interest of Lilly S. & Vincent S., 298 Neb. 306 (2017).

The Court starts by concluding that the order placing Nicholas is a disposition order. The Court recently interpreted the exhaustion requirement in Neb. Rev. Stat. § 43-251.01(7)(a) and found that evidence must show that no other resources have a reasonable possibility for success. In re Interest of Dana H., 299 Neb. 197 (2018). Based on the evidence here, the Court found that the exhaustion requirement was met. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 43-251.01(7)(b) also requires a risk analysis, and the Court here finds that there is evidence that Nicholas’ sale of drugs to other has negatively affected his life, including his school performance. See In re Interest of Dana H., supra. The Court made all necessary findings and so the orders are affiremed