The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has been working with the County Court Judges, County Attorney GAL's, CASA, FCRB, Parents Attorneys, and others as part of, "Through the Eyes of a Child" Initiative meetings with the courts.
In Lancaster County children will be expected to attend dispositional and review hearings. All ages, as appropriate. It is presumed the child/youth will be at their court hearing unless it is determined by the DHHS worker in consultation with the GAL that the child should not attend. Foster parents will be asked to transport youth to the hearings. In cases where that is not possible, DHHS staff will be responsible for transporting.
The issue of getting kids to court is one that other judges are also starting to look at as part of the change and improvement. It is hopeful that other courts around the state may sometime in the future also want to have children at court if the children are not already attending.The fact that children will be required to attend court hearings should facilitate Resource Parents receiving notice of court hearings and hopefully, the opportunity to be heard in court.
Click here for a copy of the Caregiver Form.
Because so many youth are involved in the Nebraska juvenile court system, there are forms available for these children to fill out so their voice is being heard. Through the Eyes of the Child Initiative has partnered with several agencies so youth have a voice. You can find more information on the Nebraska Supreme Court Website.
Young Child Court Form
Children in the child welfare system typically want to talk to their judge and let him or her know what is going on in their life. Attending court hearings is a great way for the child to be involved and express his or her opinions. If that is not possible, the Young Child Court Form is a great alternative. The Young Child Court Form is intended for children around the developmental ages of 6 to 10. We encourage that a trusted person known to the child assist him or her in filling out the form. The form can be given to a party to submit or can be sent directly to the court.
Youth Court Form
Updated in 2019 with the input of judges and youth councils, this older youth questionnaire was designed as a way for young people to inform the judge of what is going on in their lives and to make requests about the case. Completing the form is voluntary, and all parties to the case have the opportunity to review the form. TTEOC has worked with Project Everlast for several years in its design and implementation.
The Center on Children, Families, and the Law (CCFL) provides a guidebook for foster parents and relative caregivers on the Nebraska Juvenile Court Child Protection Process. Click here for a copy.