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, determine good cause

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:

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

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

For child with APPLA goal:

desired permanency outcome; and

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

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

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

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)

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:

Provided appropriate non-pharmacological interventions, therapies, or strategies to meet needs; or

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:

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

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 achieving permanency?

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 education plan