Sibling Intervention

Sibling Intervention

Complaint to Intervene In Foster Care Case by Guardian or Next Friend on Behalf of Sibling, to be used for Minors under the age of 19. (See information below red line on this page if you are age 19 or older)

What is the "Complaint to Intervene In Foster Care Case by Guardian or Next Friend on Behalf of Sibling" form and why would you need it?

If you are a parent, custodian, legal guardian, guardian ad litem or other supportive adult of a minor (under the age of 19), you can use this form if the minor has a sibling who is in foster care and:

  • The minor sibling has not been placed with the minor,
  • The minor is not able to have visits with the sibling, or
  • The minor doesn’t have regular contact with the sibling. 

A minor has the right to “intervene” in a sibling’s case to ask for one or more of these things. Intervening is the process of asking the court for permission to be a part of a case for a specific reason.

If the minor doesn’t have an attorney to help, the law allows a “next friend” – that is a parent, custodian, legal guardian, guardian ad litem or other supportive adult who is 19 years of age or older – to use this form to take this request to the court.

An adult sibling (19 years of age or older) can fill out a complaint on their own, but would use this form instead.  For additional information, please scroll down past the red line on this webpage.

What rights does a minor have when a sibling is in foster care?

  • The law (Neb. Rev. Stat. § 43-1311.02(09)) says that a sibling has the right to intervene at any point in the case, to request the same placement, visitation, or ongoing interaction with their sibling.  This is the minor’s right even if the minor and the minor’s sibling did not have a relationship before they went into foster care.

Who is defined as a sibling?

  • Siblings can be biological siblings (full-siblings or half-siblings) as well as legal siblings (step-siblings or siblings through adoption). Even if something happened like the parents’ parental rights have been terminated, or the parent has died. These can still count as the minor’s siblings.  The minor’s sibling just has to have an open foster care case.

Who can help  me complete this form?

  •  If you have an attorney or the minor you are assisting has an attorney or a guardian ad litem, they can help you fill out this form to intervene in the sibling’s case.

Where can I find additional information required to complete the form?

  • Information can be shared by the Caseworker or another worker on the sibling’s case. Please note the Caseworker will not be able to help you fill out the form. There are a lot of sections in this form that ask questions about the sibling’s open foster care case. If you can contact the sibling’s DHHS Caseworker, or Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), or guardian ad litem (GAL), they may be able to help you find out if the sibling has an open foster care case, what the case number (or docket number) is for their case, and what county the case is in.
  • You can go online to JUSTICE, Nebraska’s online court records system, at  https://www.nebraska.gov/justicecc/ccname.cgi. There is a one-time fee of $15.  You will enter all the information you have about the sibling’s case, and it will give you the case number (or docket number) if their case is still open and what county the case is in.

 What do I do with the completed form?

What happens after the completed form is filed with the court?

  • Once the completed form is filed, the court will most likely schedule a hearing. The court should notify you and the other parties in the case (sibling’s attorney, sibling’s parents’ attorney/s, the county attorney and DHHS) of the date and time of the hearing. You will most likely receive a Notice of Hearing in the mail with the date and time of the hearing.

How do I get ready for the hearing?

  • Each judge is a little bit different in how they handle motion and/or complaint hearings in juvenile court. The judge will likely ask you to explain what kind of contact the minor wants with the sibling (placement/visitation/contact) and why you are asking for contact. The other parties in the case will get a chance to respond to what you've said and express their position.

How do I prepare for going to court?

  • It is a good idea to think ahead or prepare notes about what you are going to say in court.  
  • You should be clear about what you are asking for, whether it is sibling placement (for the child to live with you), sibling visitation (and how often), and/or sibling contact (and what type of contact.)
  • You might also give a bit of background information about the minor’s living situation and how you became aware of the case. The minor does not need to have a pre-existing sibling relationship with the minor to have placement, visitation, or contact, but you should describe any relationship the children do have and the reasons why you would like them to have placement, visitation, or contact with each other .
  • DHHS is required to make “reasonable efforts” for sibling placement, visitation or other ongoing interaction unless doing so is contrary to the safety or well-being of any of the siblings. Therefore, you might want to describe what efforts, if any, DHHS has made to contact and work with you to establish placement, visitation, or contact with the sibling. 
  • You should also explain why sibling placement, visitation, or interaction would not harm the safety or well-being of the sibling in foster care. 

The judge may decide whether to grant or deny your complaint at the hearing, or the judge may “take the matter under advisement” and decide later by writing a written decision.  You should receive a copy of the judge’s decision in the mail.

If you do not go to the hearing, your complaint will most likely be dismissed. If you know in advance that you cannot make the hearing, file a written request with the court to try to reschedule the hearing.


Complaint to Intervene in a Foster Care Case by a Sibling (to used by an adult age 19 or older)

What is the "Complaint to Intervene in a Foster Care Case by a Sibling" form and why would you need it?

  • If you are an adult (age 19 or older) and have a sibling who is in foster care and your sibling has not been placed with you, you are not able to have visits with your sibling, or you don’t have regular contact with them, you have the right to “intervene” in your sibling’s case to ask for placement, visitation, or contact. Intervening is the process of asking the court for permission to be a part of a case for a specific reason.

If you are an adult and don’t have an attorney to help you, you can fill out this complaint on your own.  You will use this form. 

What rights do you have when your sibling is in foster care?

  • The law (Neb. Rev. Stat. § 43-1311.02(09)) says that a sibling has the right to intervene at any point in the case, to request placement, visitation, or ongoing interaction with their sibling. This is your right even if you and your sibling did not have a relationship before they went into foster care.

Who is defined as a sibling?

  • Siblings can be biological siblings (full siblings, half siblings) as well as legal siblings (stepsiblings or siblings through adoption). Even if your parents’ parental rights were terminated or your parent has died, you are still legal siblings under the law. Your sibling just has to have an open foster care case.

Who can help me with this form?

  •  If you have an attorney or guardian ad litem, they can help you fill out this form to intervene in your sibling’s case.

Where can I find additional information required to complete the form?

  • Information can be shared by a Caseworker or another worker on your sibling’s case. Please note the Caseworker will not be able to help you fill out the form. There are a lot of sections in this form that ask questions about your sibling’s open foster care case. If you can reach out to your sibling’s DHHS Caseworker, or Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), or guardian ad litem (GAL), they may be able to help you find out if your sibling has an open foster care case, what the case number (or docket number) is for their case, and what county the case is in.
  • You can go online to JUSTICE, which is Nebraska’s online court records system, at https://www.nebraska.gov/justicecc/ccname.cgi. There is a one-time fee of $15, you will enter all the information you have about your sibling’s case, and it will give you your sibling’s case number (or docket number) if their case is still open and what county the case is in.

What do I do with the completed form?

What happens once the completed form is filed?

  • Once the completed form is filed, the court will most likely schedule a hearing. The court should notify you and the other parties in the case ( your sibling’s attorney, your sibling’s parents’ attorney/s, the county attorney and DHHS) of the date and time of the hearing. You will most likely receive a Notice of Hearing in the mail with the date and time of the hearing.

How do I get ready for the hearing?

  • Each judge is a little bit different in how they handle motion and/or complaint hearings in juvenile court.  The judge will likely ask you to explain what kind of contact you want with your sibling (placement/visitation/contact), and why you are asking for contact. The other parties in the case will get a chance to respond to what you've said and express their position.

 How do I prepare for going to court?

  • It is a good idea to think ahead or prepare notes about what you are going to say in court. 
  • You should be clear about what you are asking for, whether it is sibling placement (for the child to live with you), sibling visitation (and how often), and/or sibling contact (and what type of contact).
  • You might also give a bit of background information about yourself and your living situation, and how you became aware of the case.
  • You do not need to have a pre-existing sibling relationship with your sibling to have placement, visitation, or contact, but you should describe any relationship you do have and the reasons why you would like to have placement, visitation, or contact with your sibling.
  • DHHS is required to make “reasonable efforts” for sibling placement, visitation or other ongoing interaction unless doing so is contrary to the safety or well-being of any of the siblings. Therefore, you might want to describe what efforts, if any, DHHS has made to contact and work with you to establish placement, visitation, or contact with your sibling. 
  • You should also explain why sibling placement, visitation, or interaction would not harm the safety or well-being of your sibling. 

The judge may decide whether to grant or deny your complaint at the hearing, or the judge may “take the matter under advisement” and decide later by writing a written decision.  You should receive a copy of the judge’s decision in the mail.

If you do not go to the hearing, your complaint will most likely be dismissed. If you know in advance that you cannot make the scheduled hearing, call the court to try to reschedule the hearing.