Juveniles housed in the state’s youth rehabilitation and treatment centers can be moved more quickly during an emergency situation under a bill passed May 19.
LB273, sponsored by Kearney Sen. John Lowe, allows the state Department of Health and Human Services to file an immediate change of placement motion to transfer a juvenile to a different facility. A hearing on the motion must be held within 24 hours and can be conducted by telephone or videoconference.
An immediate change of placement may be filed in cases when a juvenile requires additional specialized care to address substance use or behavioral health needs. A qualifying emergency also can include a public health emergency, natural disaster or damage that renders a YRTC uninhabitable.
The court will order a temporary emergency change of placement if it determines that the change is appropriate and in the best interests of the juvenile. The court must notify a juvenile’s parent or guardian of the motion to transfer, including notice that the hearing will be held within 24 hours.
Additionally, the department is required to provide all parties of record with the evidence and witnesses to be presented during an emergency hearing. The juvenile will have an opportunity to consult with legal counsel and review the motion and all evidence before the hearing.
LB273 passed on a 40-0 vote.