In re Interest of John T., 538 N.W.2d 761 (Neb. Ct. App. 1995)

Court and Agency Decisions and Orders (including case law)

This opinion addressed the issue of whether a foster parent's omission of their positive HIV-status to the court should factor into the outcome of a custody proceeding. The court ultimately held that it should not be a factor, and that the focus of the determination should remain on the best interests of the child.
The foster parent at issue here failed to disclose her HIV status before the child was placed in her care. In deciding whether or not the child should continue to stay in the care of his foster parents, the court looked at factors including the care and love he was provided in his present home, the support offered by extended members of his foster family, and the harm that would occur if he was placed in a different foster home. The court specifically decided not to factor in the foster mother's initial omission, stating that to do so would be purely punitive and would not reflect the child's best interests.