Determining the Best Interests of the Child - Nebraska

Date:

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 43-533 

The following principles shall guide the actions of State government when involved with families and children in need of assistance or services:

  • Prevention, early identification of problems, and early intervention shall be guiding philosophies when the State plans or implements services for families or children, when such services are in the best interests of the child.
  • When families or children request assistance, State and local government resources shall be utilized to complement community efforts to help meet the needs of such families. The State shall encourage community involvement in the provision of services to families and children in order to encourage and provide innovative strategies in the development of services for families and children.
  • The State shall develop methods to coordinate services and resources for families and children. Every child-serving agency shall recognize that the jurisdiction of such agency serving children with multiple needs is not mutually exclusive.
  • When children are removed from their home, permanency planning shall be the guiding philosophy. It shall be the policy of the State:
    • To make reasonable efforts to reunite the child with his or her family in a timeframe appropriate to the age and developmental needs of the child as long as the best interests of the child—the health and safety of the child being of paramount concern—and the needs of the child have been given primary consideration in making a determination whether reunification is possible
    • When a child cannot remain with parents, to give preference to relatives as a placement resource
    • To minimize the number of placement changes for children in out-of-home care as long as the needs, health, safety, and best interests of the child in care are considered
  • When families cannot be reunited and when active parental involvement is absent, adoption shall be aggressively pursued. Absent the possibility of adoption, other permanent settings shall be pursued. In either situation, the health, safety, and best interests of the child shall be the overriding concerns. Preference shall be given to relatives for the permanent placement of the child.