Nebraska Revised Statute 43-1311.01
Child removed from home; notice to noncustodial parent and certain relatives; when; information provided; department; duties.
(1) When notified pursuant to section 43-1311 or upon voluntary placement of a child, the Department of Health and Human Services shall, as provided in this section, identify, locate, and provide written notification of the removal of the child from his or her home, within thirty days after removal, to any noncustodial parent and to all grandparents, all parents who have legal custody of a sibling of the child, and all adult siblings, adult aunts, adult uncles, adult cousins, and adult relatives suggested by the child or the child's parents, except when that relative's history of family or domestic violence makes notification inappropriate. For purposes of this section, sibling means an individual who is considered by Nebraska law to be a sibling or who would have been considered a sibling under Nebraska law but for a termination of parental rights or other disruption in parental rights such as the death of a parent. If the child is an Indian child as defined in section 43-1503, the child's extended family members as defined in such section shall be notified. Such notification shall include all of the following information:
(a) The child has been or is being removed from the custody of the parent or parents of the child;
(b) An explanation of the options the relative has under federal, state, and local law to participate in the care and placement of the child, including any options that may be lost by failing to respond to the notice;
(c) A description of the requirements for the relative to serve as a foster care provider or other type of care provider for the child and the additional services, training, and other support available for children receiving such care; and
(d) Information concerning the option to apply for guardianship assistance payments.
(2) The department shall investigate the names and locations of the relatives, including, but not limited to, asking the child in an age-appropriate manner about relatives important to the child and obtaining information regarding the location of the relatives.
(3) The department shall provide to the court, within thirty calendar days after removal of the child, the names and relationship to the child of all relatives contacted, the method of contact, and the responses received from the relatives.
Despite the Legislature's creation of new duties for the Department of Health and Human Services to preserve sibling relationships, it has not created a private right of action for an adjudicated child's sibling to enforce the department's duties under section 43-1311.02 and this section. Instead, section 43-1311.02(3) specifically limits the right to enforce these duties to parties. In re Interest of Nizigiyimana R., 295 Neb. 324, 889 N.W.2d 362 (2016).
Under this section and section 43-1311.02, the Department of Health and Human Services' duties to make reasonable efforts to implement a joint-sibling placement do not depend upon the continued existence of the parent-child relationship with each of the siblings. The department's duties exist even if the siblings' custody orders were entered at separate times, even if a court has terminated a parent's relationship with each child, and even if the siblings have not previously lived together. Additionally, the department's duties regarding siblings do not depend on whether both siblings are adjudicated under section 43-247 or whether the department has placement authority for both siblings. Instead, the Legislature intended for the department to develop and maintain an adjudicated child's sibling relationships in a variety of circumstances. In re Interest of Nizigiyimana R., 295 Neb. 324, 889 N.W.2d 362 (2016).