4. Permanency Hearing Before Final Order

15 Minutes; up to 25 suggested best practice

Prior to Permanency Hearing (PH):

If first PH, scheduled within 180 days after DFPS named TMC

If subsequent PH, scheduled within 120 days of last PH

10 days' notice provided

DFPS Permanency Progress Report filed at least 10 days before PH and includes:

Child's Permanency Plan

Summary of Medical Care

The court file includes:

Notification of consent for medical care

Education decision-maker Form 2085-E

Visitation Plan

At Hearing:

Identify those present

Child in attendance

DFPS due diligence to locate and serve parties not present

Parent, alleged father or relative provided locating information for absent parents, alleged fathers, or relatives

Child provided opportunity to provide information about possible relative or other caregiver

If child with relative, inform about Permanency Care Assistance

Paternity issues/Paternity Registry

Need for language interpretation

If parent is unrepresented, inform of right to counsel, determine indigency, and appoint attorney

Indian/Native American Heritage

Citizenship issues, consulate notified

Compliance with orders/Service Plan and progress made

Parties and those present heard and provided opportunity to present evidence

If caregiver is present, must be given opportunity to provide information about the child.

If AAL hasn't seen client, determine good cause

Review Permanency Progress Report:

Safety and well-being of child

Child's needs (medical/special)

Child's placement

Evidence as to whether DFPS is able to place with relative

Child's primary and alternative permanency goals

DFPS reasonable efforts to finalize permanency plan

Child provided opportunity to express opinion about medical care

For child receiving psychotropic medication, whether child has:

been provided non-pharmacological interventions.

seen prescribing physician every 90 days for review

Child's education decision-maker identified, education needs and goals identified and addressed, and major changes in school performance or disciplinary events

If 14 or older, transition services to assist from care to independent living

For child with goal of APPLA:

child's desired permanency outcome; and

whether APPLA best permanency plan; if so, provide compelling reasons why not in child's best interest to:

return home,

adoption,

placed with legal guardian, or

placed with a fit and willing relative

whether DFPS has conducted an Independent Living Skills (ILS) assessment for all youth 16 and older in TMC

whether DFPS has addressed the goals identified in the youth's permanency plan.

For youth 16 years of age or older, whether DFPS has provided documents required by Section 264.121(e)

For youth 18 years or older, or has had disabilities of minority removed, whether DFPS has provided youth with documents and information listed in Section 264.121(e-1)

Child receiving appropriate medical care

Child has regular, ongoing opportunities for age-appropriate normalcy activities, including those not in child's service plan

At End of Hearing:

Determine whether to return child if parents willing and able to provide safe environment and in child's best interest

Advise/warn custodial rights and duties subject to restriction or termination

Incorporate changes or modifications to Service Plan into order

Likely date child returned home, placed for adoption, or placed in PMC

Set next PH within 120 days or sooner

Announce dismissal date and any upcoming hearings

Best Practices:

If lack of notice, consider resetting hearing to secure attendance

Engage parties with direct questions

Engage youth

Ask DFPS direct, child-specific questions about primary and concurrent goal

If not moving to positive permanency, set timelines and tasks to be completed prior to next hearing

AAL knowledgeable about child's needs and legal objectives

Set next PH 90 instead of 120 days

For Older Youth:

Family group decision-making

Preparation for Adult Living (PAL)

If will turn 18 while in foster care:

Discuss extended foster care and trial independence

Ensure referrals to Texas Workforce Commission

Ensure appropriate documents in possession before leave care

Ask the following questions:

What is preventing this child from returning home today?

How is my decision specific to this child and this family?

Are there cultural issues we need to understand?

Well-being issues at Permanency Hearing:

Medical Care and Mental Health:

Summary of medical care:

Nature of emergency medical care

All medical and mental health treatment receiving and progress

Any medication prescribed/progress

Caregiver compliance with treatment plan

Adverse reaction or side effects

Diagnosis or diagnostic tests

Activity to avoid that affect effectiveness of treatment

Other info required

Education and Educational Decisions:

Enrolled and in appropriate grade

Remain in current school, even if placement changes

If change placement, determine:

Where child wants to attend school

Whether transportation is available

Whether change coordinated with grading and testing periods

Whether records/credits transferred

If 0-3, child assessed for developmental milestones through ECI

If 0-5, enrolled in Early Head Start, Head Start, or Pre-Kindergarten

Educational Decision-maker/Form 2085E on file

School supports and disciplinary issues

Extracurricular activities/normalcy

Evaluated for/receiving special education

If 14 or older, postsecondary education plan