although Shayla was not, she was eligible for membership. The children were returned to the
family, and over the next seven months, David and Danielle participated in counseling services
geared toward reunification.205 However, the children showed signs of continuing problems.
The trial court concluded that it was in their best interests that custody remain with state social
services, although they were physically returned to the couple.206 The court also required David
to cooperate with state child welfare investigations, to desist from physical discipline of the
children, to provide them with therapy, etc.207
The Appellate Court reversed, on the grounds that although the state had employed
“reasonable” efforts at reunifying the children with David, it had not employed active efforts.208
The trial court’s finding that the children’s best interests would be best served by the state
retaining legal custody was therefore insufficient.209 The Nebraska Supreme Court agreed,
holding that even though the children remained in the birth parent’s physical custody, the
decision to withhold legal custody fell short of the active efforts requirement.210 Only briefly
noted in the court’s opinion was the fact that “the children were subsequently removed from
David’s physical custody.”211 That was because by the time the court ruled, David had once
again abused the three, as well as other children.212 In May, 2015, the Juvenile Court found him
“unfit by reason of debauchery or repeated lewd and lascivious behavior”213 and “callous
207 Id. at 673.
208 Id. at 677–78.
209 See In re Interest of Shayla H., 846 N.W.2d at 678.
210 State of Nebraska v. Daphne Hansen, 855 N. W.2d, 777. (Neb. 2014).
211 Id. at 776.
213 In re Interest of Shayla H., et al., Doc. JV13 (Juvenile Court of Lancaster County, May 1, 2015) at 3 (on file with