Report Title:

Permanent Plan Hearings

 

Description:

Amends the child protective act to ensure compliance with federal Title IV-E hearing requirements. Effective July 1, 2010. (CD1)

 


THE SENATE

S.B. NO.

912

TWENTY-FIFTH LEGISLATURE, 2009

S.D. 2

STATE OF HAWAII

H.D. 2

 

C.D. 1

 

 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

 

RELATING TO PERMANENCY HEARINGS.

 

 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

 


SECTION 1. Section 587-2, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new definition to be appropriately inserted and to read as follows:

""Entry into foster care date" means:

(1) The first date on which the court has ordered foster custody or temporary foster custody; or

(2) The date protective custody was assumed by the police pursuant to section 587-22; or

(3) The date the child was removed from the family home pursuant to a signed voluntary foster custody agreement with the department,

whichever date is earlier."

SECTION 2. Section 587-27, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending subsection (a) to read as follows:

"(a) [Permanent] A permanent plan is a specific written plan, prepared by an appropriate authorized agency, which, after considering both in-state and out-of-state placement options, should set forth:

(1) A position as to whether the court should order an adoption, guardianship, or permanent custody of the child and specify:

(A) A reasonable period of time during which the adoption or guardianship may be finalized; provided that the identity of the proposed adoptive parent or parents shall be provided to the court in a separate report which shall be sealed and shall not be released to the parties unless the court deems such release to be in the best interests of the child;

(B) If adoption is not the plan, a clear and convincing explanation why guardianship is preferable to adoption; or

(C) If adoption or guardianship is not the plan, a clear and convincing explanation why permanent custody is preferable to guardianship;

(2) A specific written plan including:

(A) The goal, as being: adoption, guardianship, or permanent custody;

(B) The objectives concerning the child, including, but not limited to, stable placement, education, health, therapy, counseling, birth family (including visitation, if any), culture, and adoption, guardianship, or preparation for independent living; [and]

(C) If the child has reached the age of sixteen, the services needed to assist the child to make the transition from foster care to independent living; and

[(C)] (D) The method or methods for achieving the goal and objectives set forth in subparagraphs (A) and (B);

(3) All supporting exhibits and written consents or an explanation as to why the exhibits or consents are not available[. Upon], and upon good cause shown, the court may waive submission of any supporting exhibit or written consent; and

(4) Any other information or materials which are necessary to the expeditious facilitation of the permanent plan."

SECTION 3. Section 587-71, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended as follows:

1. By amending subsections (d) and (e) to read:

"(d) If the court determines that the child's family home is not a safe family home, even with the assistance of a service plan, the court shall vest foster custody of the child in an authorized agency and enter [such] further orders as the court deems to be in the best interests of the child.

Further, the court shall make a finding establishing the entry into foster care date, and enter it into the written order resulting from the hearing.

(e) If the child's family home is determined not to be safe, even with the assistance of a service plan pursuant to subsection (d), the court may[, and if the child has been residing without the family home for a period of twelve consecutive months shall,] set the case for a show cause hearing as deemed appropriate by the court at which the child's family shall have the burden of presenting evidence to the court regarding such reasons and considerations as the family has to offer as to why the case should not be set for a permanent plan hearing. Upon such show cause hearing as the court deems to be appropriate, the court shall consider the criteria set forth in section 587-73(a)(1), (2), and (4), and:

(1) Set the case for a permanent plan hearing and order that the authorized agency submit a report pursuant to section 587-40; or

(2) Proceed pursuant to this section."

2. By amending subsection (j) to read:

"(j) If the court makes a determination that aggravated circumstances are present under this section, the court shall [set the case for a show cause hearing as deemed appropriate by the court within thirty days. At the show cause hearing, the child's family shall have the burden of presenting evidence to the court regarding the reasons and considerations as to why the case should not be set for a permanent plan hearing.] conduct a review hearing within thirty days."

SECTION 4. Section 587-72, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

"587-72 Review hearings. (a) [Except for good cause shown, the] The court shall [set each case for] conduct a review hearing not later than six months after the date that a service plan is ordered by the court and[,] no later than thirty days after any finding of aggravated circumstances; thereafter, the court shall [set subsequent] conduct review hearings at intervals of no longer than six months until the court's jurisdiction has been terminated or the court has ordered a permanent plan and has set the case for a permanent plan review hearing. The court may set a case for a review hearing upon the motion of a party at any time if the hearing is deemed by the court to be in the best interests of the child.

(b) [Upon] At each review hearing, the court shall consider [fully] all relevant prior and current information pertaining to the safe family home guidelines, as set forth in section 587-25, including but not limited to the report submitted pursuant to section 587-40, and age appropriate consultations with the child, and:

(1) Determine whether the child's family is presently willing and able to provide the child with a safe family home without the assistance of a service plan and, if so, the court shall terminate jurisdiction;

(2) Determine whether the child's family is presently willing and able to provide the child with a safe family home with the assistance of a service plan and, if so, the court shall return the child or continue the placement of the child in the child's family home under the family supervision of the appropriate authorized agency;

(3) If the child's family home is determined, pursuant to paragraph (2) not to be safe, even with the assistance of a service plan, order that the child remain or be placed under the foster custody of the appropriate authorized agency; if the child was not previously in foster custody, the court shall make a finding establishing the entry into foster care date and include the date in the written order for the hearing; and if the child is in out-of-state placement, the court shall determine whether out-of-state placement continues to be appropriate and in the best interests of the child;

(4) Determine whether the parties have complied with, performed, and completed every term and condition of the service plan that was previously court ordered[;], and determine if the most appropriate plan continues to be reunification of the child in a family home and the projected date for that to occur;

(5) If it is asserted by a party or guardian ad litem that reunification is not the most appropriate plan, the court shall set:

(A) A permanent plan hearing; or

(B) The date by which the department must file a motion to set the matter for a permanent plan hearing, or

(C) The date by which the department must file a petition for guardianship,

whichever is most appropriate;

(6) If reunification is determined not to be the most appropriate plan, determine whether adoption, guardianship, or other permanent placement is the most appropriate plan for the child, and the projected date for that to occur after consideration of both in-state and out-of-state placement options. If the most appropriate option is not adoption or guardianship, the court shall document the compelling reasons why adoption or guardianship is not in the child's best interests;

[(5)] (7) [Order revisions to the existing service plan, after] After satisfying the provisions of section 587-71(h), [as the court, upon a hearing] order revisions to the existing service plan that the court deems [to be appropriate, determines] to be in the best interests of the child[;], including the projected date for reunification, if that is determined to be the most appropriate plan or, for a child who has reached the age of sixteen and for whom reunification is not planned, the services needed to help that child transition from foster care to independent living; provided that a copy of the revised service plan shall be incorporated as part of the order;

[(6) Enter further orders as the court deems to be in the best interests of the child;

(7)] (8) Determine whether aggravated circumstances are present [and, if so, the court shall set the case for a show cause hearing as the court deems appropriate within thirty days. At the show cause hearing, the child's family shall have the burden of presenting evidence to the court regarding the reasons and considerations as to why the case should not be set for a permanent plan hearing; and]; provided that if a court determination of aggravated circumstances is made, the department shall file a petition for permanent custody of the child and the court shall conduct a permanent plan hearing within sixty days of the initial determination of aggravated circumstances;

[(8)] (9) If the child has been residing outside the family home [for twelve consecutive months from the initial date of entry into out-of-home care,] the court may set the case for a show cause hearing as deemed appropriate by the court[. At], and at the show cause hearing, the child's family shall have the burden of presenting evidence to the court regarding the reasons and considerations as to why the case should not be set for a permanent plan hearing[.]; and

(10) Enter further orders as the court deems to be in the best interests of the child.

(c) In any case [that a permanent plan hearing is not deemed to be appropriate,] where reunification is determined to be the appropriate goal, the court shall:

(1) Make a finding that the parties understand that unless the family is willing and able to provide the child with a safe family home, even with the assistance of a service plan, within the reasonable period of time specified in the service plan, their respective parental and custodial duties and rights shall be subject to termination; and

(2) Set the case for a review hearing within six months.

(d) If the child has been [residing outside of the family home] in foster care for an aggregate of fifteen out of the most recent twenty-two months from the [initial date of] entry into [out-of-home care,] foster care date, the department shall file a motion to set the matter for a permanent plan hearing, or the court shall set a permanent plan hearing, unless:

(1) The department has documented in the safe family home guidelines prepared pursuant to section 587-25(a), a compelling reason why it would not be in the best interests of the child to file a motion; or

(2) The State has not provided to the family of the child, consistent with the time period in the service plan, such services as the department deems necessary for the safe return of the child to the family home;

provided that nothing in this section shall prevent the department from filing such a motion to set a permanent plan hearing if the department has determined that the criteria in section 587-73(a) are present."

SECTION 5. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 6. This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2010.