6. Permanency Hearing After Final Order

15 minutes; up to 25 suggested best practice

Prior to Permanency Hearing (PH):

⧠ If parental rights terminated, first PH within 90 days of final order

⧠ If parent rights not terminated, first PH within 180 days of final order

⧠ 10 days’ notice of hearing

⧠ DFPS Permanency Progress Report filed 10 days before hearing; includes

•   Summary of Medical Care

⧠ The court file includes:

•   Notification of consent for medical care

•   Education Decision-Maker Form 2085E

At Hearing:

⧠ Identify those present

⧠ Child in attendance

⧠ Review Dept efforts to notify of hearing

⧠ If AAL has not seen client, form filed

⧠ Review Permanency Progress Report:

•   Child’s safety and well-being

•   Child’s needs (medical/special)

•   Child’s placement, noting evidence as to whether DFPS can place child with relative

•   If in institutional care, efforts to ensure least restrictive environment

•   Primary/alternative permanency goals

•   DFPS reasonable efforts to finalize the permanency plan:

o due diligence to place for adoption if rights terminated and child eligible; or

o APPLA, including appointing relative as PMC or returning the child to parent, appropriate for child

•   For child with APPLA goal:

o desired permanency outcome; and

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

▪   return home,

▪   be placed for adoption,

▪   be placed with legal guardian, or

▪   be placed with fit and willing relative

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

o whether DFPS has conducted an ILS for all youth 14 and older in PMC

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

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

o 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)

•   If 14 or older, services to assist in transitioning from care to independent living in community

•   Receiving appropriate medical care and provided opportunity to express opinion on medical care

•   If receiving psychotropic medication:

o Provided appropriate nonpharmacological interventions, therapies, or strategies to meet needs; or

o seen by prescribing physician, physician assistant, or advanced practice nurse at least once every 90 days

•   Education decision-maker and education needs and goals identified, major changes in school performance or serious disciplinary events

•   For child in PMC without termination, whether DFPS to provide services to parent for up to 6 months after PH if:

o child not placed with relative or other individual, including foster parent, seeking PMC; and

o court determines further efforts at reunification with parent:

▪   in best interest of child; and

▪   likely to result in child’s safe return to parent

•   DFPS identified family or other caring adult with permanent commitment to child

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

•   If child with relative, inform about Permanency Care Assistance

⧠ Address citizenship issues, consulate notified, SIJS

⧠ Ensure those present given opportunity to be heard and if caregiver is present, must be allowed to provide information

⧠ Confer with child about permanency plan

⧠ Regular, ongoing opportunities to engage in age-appropriate normalcy activities

At End of Hearing:

Issue court order

Set next PH within 180 days

Best Practices:

If inadequate notice, consider resetting hearing to secure attendance

Engage parties with direct questions

Engage youth

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

Next PH by 90 or 120 instead of 180 days

For youth who will turn 18 while in care:

•   Discuss extended foster care and trial independence

•   Ensure referrals to Texas Workforce Commission

•   Ensure delivery of documents before leave care

Youth advised of eligibility for Family Group Decision-Making or Circles of Support to discuss future plans

Youth enrolled in PAL or provided transitional services after 14th birthday

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 in school/in appropriate grade

Remains in current school, if placement change

If placement change, determine:

•   where child wants to attend school

•   whether transportation 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, child 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/receiving special ed services

If 14 or older, postsecondary edu plan