Guardianship, adoption clarifications advanced

Senators advanced a bill from general file March 20 that would change several statutes relating to children.

LB908, introduced by Lincoln Sen. Colby Coash, primarily would:
• permit juvenile courts to appoint guardians for abused or abandoned children;
• define “abandonment” as a parent’s act of intentionally withholding from a child without just cause or excuse: presence, care, love, protection, maintenance and the opportunity to display affection;
• clarify that guardianships and guardianship funding assistance can be extended when a child reaches 19 years old; and
• allow a biological father to file an objection to an adoption and seek custody of a child at any time during a pregnancy and up to five days after receiving notification of a child’s birth.

Currently, Coash said, guardianships in Nebraska are treated as temporary, out-of-home placements. The bill would make it easier for children to find permanent homes by making guardianships mirror adoptions as closely as possible, he said.

“LB908 puts children on the path to safe, loving and permanent homes,” he said.

A Judiciary Committee amendment, adopted 27-0, would enable young adults to request guardianship past the age of 19 years old and would require that guardianship assistance funding be used specifically for their benefit.

Senators advanced the bill to select file on a 31-0 vote.

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