4. Status Hearing Checklist

15 minutes; up to 25 suggested best practice

Prior to Hearing:

Hearing 60 days after DFPS appointed TMC, unless aggravated circumstances

Persons given 10 days' notice of hearing

Visitation Plan filed at least 10 days before

Family Plan of Service filed no later than 45th day after DFPS appointed TMC

Notice of Education Decision-Maker (Form 2085-E) filed

Designation of Medical Consenter (Form 2085-B) filed

If parent is unrepresented, inform of right to counsel, determine indigency, and appoint attorney if indigent and in opposition to suit

Dismissal date set

Child “3 in 30” exam trio performed no later than 30th day after child entered TMC of DFPS

At Hearing:

Identify parties present and served

DFPS due diligence to locate parties

DFPS provided notice to relatives

Need for language interpretation

Inform parents of right to attorney

If AAL hasn't seen client, determine good cause

Child Placement Resources Form filed

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

If child with relative, inform about Permanency Care Assistance (PCA)

Paternity issues/Paternity Registry

Home studies initiated

Review current and alternative placements

Review conservatorship and substitute care of the child

Inquire about Indian/Native American Heritage

DFPS held or plans to hold Permanency Planning Meeting

Address citizenship issues, consulate notified

Review child's medical care

Family Plan of Service (SP)

Determine if:

SP developed jointly with parents

Each term reviewed/discussed with parents; parents understand

Parents informed of rights with SP process

Noted if parent not able or willing to participate in development of SP

Plan has primary and concurrent goal

Plan is signed by parents and DFPS

Parent has opportunity to comment on SP

Court can modify SP at any time

Visitation Plan (VP)

Review VP:

Age and safety of child at/during visitation

Desires of each parent regarding visitation

Location of each parent and child

Transportation to/from visits

DFPS/other resources available to support visitation

Court may modify VP at any time

If find visitation not in child's best interest, include in order reasons and specific steps parent must take to have visitation

At the End of the Hearing:

Determine whether SP narrowly tailored for specific issues identified by DFPS

Determine whether any SP with goal of reunification adequately ensures that reasonable efforts made to enable parents to provide safe environment for child

Advise/warn parents & parties:

Custodial rights and duties subject to restriction or termination or child not returned unless parent demonstrates willingness and ability to provide child with safe environment

Progress under SP reviewed at all hearings, including review of newly acquired knowledge or skills

Incorporate SP into court order and render additional, appropriate orders to require compliance with or implement SP


Dismissal date

May transfer to court of continuing, exclusive jurisdiction, if CCEJ exists

Best Practices:

Set first Permanency Hearing Before Final Order and announce in open court

Engage parties with direct questions

Do you understand the purpose of the Service Plan?

Ask direct and specific questions of the Department about reasonable efforts

What about this plan is narrowly tailored to address specific issues present in Ms. Smith's case?

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:

School stability, education goals, progress, and issues, and Education Decision-Maker

Medical Consenter may need to be identified or updated

Review psychiatric care, especially if child or youth prescribed psychotropic medication

Young adult presence at hearing or opinion about education or medical care