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Part 3 of the course covers review hearings and permanency proceedings in dependency cases.

VI. PERIODIC REVIEW HEARINGS

§6.01 Purpose

[1] In General
[2] Six-Month Review Hearing
[3] Twelve-Month Permanency Hearing
[4] Eighteen-Month Permanency Review Hearing
[5] Twenty-Four-Month Subequent Permanency Review Hearing

[1] In General

If you declare a child to be a dependent of the court, you must hold periodic review hearings throughout the dependency. Generally, these hearings must be held at intervals of no more than six months, starting from (a) the date of the disposition hearing if you allowed the child to remain at home, or (b) the date the child entered foster care if you removed the child from home. [See WIC §§364(a), 366(a)(1), 366.3(a); CRC 5.502(9)(A).] They ensure periodic review of [WIC §366(a)]:

  • The child’s status;
  • The necessity for and appropriateness of the child’s placement; and
  • The extent of compliance with the case plan for the child.

[2] Six-Month Review Hearing

The purposes of the six-month review hearing are [see WIC §366.21(e)]:

  • To return the child to the home unless there is a substantial risk of detriment;
  • To terminate jurisdiction if there are no longer grounds to continue;
  • To review the case plan, reunification services, and concurrent permanency planning; and/or
  • If the child is not returned at this hearing, to move expeditiously toward return of the child or to a permanent plan for out-of-home placement.

This hearing must be held six months after the disposition hearing, but no later than 12 months after the date the child entered foster care as determined in WIC §361.49, whichever occurs earlier. [WIC §366.21(e).]

The dependency scheme sets up three distinct periods, with escalating standards for determining whether there is a substantial probability of return when the child is under three years of age, and reunification services are first presumed, then possible, then disfavored. Thus, the six-month review and the 12-month review are distinct inquiries with different operable standards. [M.V. v Superior Court (2008) 167 CA4th 166, 179, quoting Tonya M. v Superior Court (2007) 42 C4th 836, 845.]

The operable standard at the six-month review is finding a substantial probability that the child may be returned, which requires you to find whether there is a strong likelihood of a possibility of return (distinct from a higher burden of substantial probability that the return will in fact occur, which applies at the 12-month review). [M.V. v Superior Court, supra, 167 CA4th at 181.]

[3] Twelve-Month Permanency Hearing

The purposes of a 12-month permanency hearing are [see WIC §366.21(f)]:

  • To return the child unless there is a substantial risk of detriment;
  • To terminate jurisdiction if there are no longer grounds to continue;
  • To review the case plan, reunification services, independent living programs, and concurrent permanency planning; and/or
  • To terminate reunification services and, if the child is not returned to the parent, facilitate an alternative permanent plan unless reasonable services have not been offered or provided, or there is a substantial probability the child will be returned within 18 months from the date of removal from home and the parent or legal guardian has satisfied the reunification factors specified in WIC §366.21(g)(1).

The permanency hearing must be held no later than 12 months after the date the child entered foster care, as that date is determined under WIC §361.49. [WIC §366.21(f).]

Tip

[4] Eighteen-Month Permanency Review Hearing

An 18-month permanency review hearing is held if you continued the case at the 12-month permanency hearing because there was a substantial probability that the child would be returned to a parent or guardian within six months, or that reasonable reunification services were not provided. [WIC §366.21(g).] The purposes of an 18-month permanency review hearing are [see WIC §366.22]:

  • To return the child, unless there is a substantial risk of detriment;
  • To terminate jurisdiction if there are no longer grounds to continue;
  • To review the case plan, reunification services, independent living programs, and concurrent planning; and/or
  • To terminate reunification services and, if the child is not returned, to facilitate an alternative permanent plan unless reasonable services have not been offered or provided, or there is a substantial probability the child will be returned within 24 months from the date of removal from home and there is clear and convincing evidence that the best interests of the child will be met by additional services and the parent or legal guardian has satisfied the reunification factors, per WIC §§361.5(a)(4), 366.22(b). [See §6.10.]

[5] Twenty-Four-Month Subequent Permanency Review Hearing

A 24-month subsequent permanency review hearing is held if you continued the case at the 18-month permanency hearing because you found a substantial probability the child would be returned within 24 months from the date of removal from home and clear and convincing evidence that the best interests of the child would be met by additional services and that the parent or legal guardian had satisfied the reunification factors. [WIC §§361.5(a)(4), 366.22(b); see §6.10.] The purposes of a 24-month subsequent permanency review hearing are [see WIC §366.25]:

  • To return the child, unless there is a substantial risk of detriment;
  • To determine whether reasonable services have been offered or provided; and/or
  • To terminate reunification services and, if the child is not returned, to facilitate an alternative permanent plan.

   
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© 2006 by Judicial Council of California
updated as of January 1, 2012