Placement of Children With Relatives - Nebraska

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Relative Placement for Foster Care and Guardianship

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 43-533; 43-1508(2)

When a child cannot remain with their parent, preference is given to relatives as a placement resource.

In any foster care or preadoptive placement of an Indian child, a preference shall be given, in the absence of good cause to the contrary, to a placement with one of the following in descending priority order:

  • A member of the Indian child's extended family
  • Other members of the Indian child's Tribe or Tribes
  • A foster home licensed, approved, or specified by the Indian child's Tribe or Tribes
  • An Indian foster home licensed or approved by an authorized non-Indian licensing authority
  • A non-Indian family committed to enabling the child to have extended family time and participation in the cultural and ceremonial events of the Indian child's Tribe or Tribes
  • An Indian facility or program for children approved by an Indian Tribe or operated by an Indian organization that has a program suitable to meet the Indian child's needs
  • A non-Indian facility or program for children approved by an Indian Tribe

Requirements for Placement with Relatives

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 71-1904

The Department of Health and Human Services may issue a waiver for any licensing standard not related to children's safety for a relative home that is pursuing licensure. Such waivers shall be granted on a case-by-case basis upon assessment by the department based upon the best interests of the child. A relative home that receives a waiver pursuant to this subsection shall be considered fully licensed for purposes of Federal reimbursement under the Federal Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008, P.L. 110-351.

The department shall adopt and promulgate rules and regulations establishing new foster home licensing requirements that ensure children's safety, health, and well-being but minimize the use of licensing mandates for nonsafety issues. Such rules and regulations shall provide alternatives to address nonsafety issues regarding housing and assist families in overcoming licensing barriers, especially in child-specific relative and kinship placements, to maximize appropriate reimbursement under title IV-E of the Federal Social Security Act, as amended, including expanding the use of kinship guardianship assistance payments under 42 U.S.C. § 673(d), as such act and section existed on January 1, 2013.

Requirements for Placement of Siblings

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 43-1311.02

Reasonable efforts shall be made to place a child and the child's siblings in the same foster care or adoptive placement unless such placement is contrary to the safety or well-being of any of the siblings. This requirement applies even if the custody orders of the siblings are made at separate times and even if the children have no preexisting relationship.

When siblings are not placed together, the department shall make a reasonable effort to provide for frequent sibling visits or ongoing interaction between the child and the child's siblings, unless the department provides the siblings and the court with reasons why such sibling visits or ongoing interaction would be contrary to the safety or well-being of any of the siblings. The court shall determine the type and frequency of sibling visits or ongoing interaction to be implemented by the department. The court shall determine whether the department has made reasonable efforts to facilitate sibling placement and sibling visitation or other ongoing interaction and whether such efforts are contrary to the safety or well-being of any of the siblings.

Parties to the case, including a child's sibling, may file a motion for joint-sibling placement, sibling visitation, or ongoing interaction between siblings. The court shall periodically review and evaluate the effectiveness and appropriateness of the joint-sibling placement, sibling visitation, or ongoing interaction between siblings.

If an order is entered for termination of parental rights of siblings who are subject to this section, the department shall make reasonable efforts to make a joint-sibling placement or do all the following to facilitate frequent sibling visits or ongoing interaction between the child and the child's siblings when the child is adopted or enters a permanent placement.

Relatives Who May Adopt

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 43-533(5); 43-1508(1)

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 concern. Within that context, preference shall be given to relatives for the permanent placement of the child.

In any adoptive placement of an Indian child under State law, a preference shall be given, in the absence of good cause to the contrary, to a placement with the following in descending priority order:

  • A member of the Indian child's extended family
  • Other members of the Indian child's Tribe or Tribes
  • Other Indian families
  • A non-Indian family committed to enabling the child to have extended family time and participation in the cultural and ceremonial events of the Indian child's Tribe or Tribes

Requirements for Adoption by Relatives

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 43-107

An adoptive home study shall not be required when the petitioner is a stepparent of the adopted person unless required by the court. An adoptive home study may be waived by the court upon a showing of good cause by the petitioner when the petitioner is a biological grandparent or a step-grandparent who is married to the biological grandparent at the time of the adoption if both are adopting the child.

For all petitions filed on or after January 1, 1994, the judge shall order the petitioner to request the Nebraska State Patrol to file a national criminal history record information check and to request the department to conduct and file a check of the central registry for any history of the petitioner of behavior injurious to, or that may endanger the health or morals of, a child.