One Advance Opinion for 6-13-24

1 month 1 week ago #252 by Joseph Allan Tommasino

140 Nev. Adv. Op. No. 39

June 13, 2024

Original petition for a writ of mandamus challenging a district court order determining placement of a minor child in NRS Chapter 432B proceedings.

Petition granted.


By the Court, BELL, J.:


“Nevada law describes the procedure required to place a child in need of protection outside of the home. Historically, the child welfare statutes provided preference for relative placement only; however, in 2021the legislature expanded the statutory placement preference to include fictive kin--persons who are ‘not related by blood’ but who have ‘a significant emotional and positive relationship with the child.’ See NRS 432B.0657. Today, Nevada law provides that when consistent with a child's best interest, placement preference should be given to an adult with a preexisting relationship with the child. See NRS 432B.390; NRS 432B.550.

In this case, the district court ordered placement of a child based on blood relations alone.”

Brief Answer:

“We now clarify that the term ‘fictive kin’ requires an evaluation of the relationship from the perspective of both the child and the adult and makes clear that blood relatives do not enjoy a legal placement preference over fictive kin.

We also emphasize that placement decisions must be based on a child's best interest and recognize that, to this end, a child must be meaningfully represented in all stages of a placement proceeding.”

Joe T.

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