CHC 702     

Art. 702. Permanency hearing

            A. The court shall conduct a permanency hearing, which shall consider in-state and out-of-state permanent placement options for the child, within thirty days of a judicial determination pursuant to Article 672.1 that reunification efforts are not required.

            B. The court shall conduct a permanency hearing within nine months after the disposition hearing if the child was removed prior to disposition or within twelve months if the child was removed at disposition, but in no case more than twelve months after the removal. Permanency reviews shall continue to be held at least once every twelve months thereafter until the child is permanently placed or earlier upon motion of a party for good cause shown or on the court's own motion.

            C. The court shall determine the permanent plan for the child that is most appropriate and in the best interest of the child in accordance with the following priorities of placement:

            (1) Return the child to the legal custody of the parents within a specified time period consistent with the child's age and need for a safe and permanent home. In order for reunification to remain as the permanent plan for the child, the parent must be complying with the case plan and making significant measurable progress toward achieving its goals and correcting the conditions requiring the child to be in care.

            (2) Adoption.

            (3) Placement with a legal guardian.

            (4) Placement in the legal custody of a relative who is willing and able to offer a safe, wholesome, and stable home for the child.

            (5)(a) Placement in the least restrictive, most family-like alternative permanent living arrangement. The department shall document in the child's case plan and its report to the court the compelling reason for recommending this plan over the preceding higher priority alternatives.

            (b) The permanent plan provided for in this Paragraph may be considered only if the child is sixteen years of age or older.

            D. The court shall consider a child's need for continuing contact with any relative by blood, adoption, or affinity with whom the child has an established and significant relationship in accordance with Article 1269.2 as one of several factors in determining the permanent plan that is most appropriate and in the best interest of the child.

            E. Except as otherwise provided in Article 672.1, the court shall determine whether the department has made reasonable efforts to reunify the parent and child or to finalize the child's placement in an alternative safe and permanent home in accordance with the child's permanent plan. The child's health and safety will be the paramount concern in the court's determination of the permanent plan.

            F.(1) If a child is in an out-of-state placement, the court shall determine and enter findings on whether the placement is safe, appropriate, and otherwise in the best interests of the child.

            (2) In the case of a child who will not be returned to the parent, the court shall consider in-state and out-of-state placement options.

            G. When reunification is determined to be the permanent plan for the child, the court shall advise the parents that it is their obligation to achieve the case plan goals and correct the conditions that require the child to be in care within the time period specified by the court. Otherwise, an alternative permanent plan for the child will be selected and a petition to terminate parental rights may be filed. When adoption is the permanent plan for the child, the court will advise the parent of his authority to voluntarily surrender the child and to consent to the adoption prior to the filing of a petition to terminate parental rights.

            H. The permanency hearing may be conducted by a court-appointed or court-approved administrative body.

            I. In any permanency hearing, including any hearing regarding the transition of the child from foster care to independent living, the court or administrative body conducting the hearing shall consult, in an age-appropriate manner, with the child regarding the proposed permanency or transition plan for the child.

            J. In the case of a child fourteen years of age or older, the hearing shall include a review of the transitional plan developed with the child and the agency in accordance with Subparagraph (B)(6) of Article 675.

            K. In any permanency hearing for a child whose permanent plan is placement in the least restrictive, most family-like alternative permanent living arrangement, the court or administrative body conducting the hearing shall ask the child about the desired permanency outcome for the child.

            Acts 1991, No. 235, §6, eff. Jan. 1, 1992; Acts 1997, No. 612, §1; Acts 1999, No. 449, §1, eff. July 1, 1999; Acts 2001, No. 567, §§1 and 3; Acts 2001, No. 568, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 2002; Acts 2007, No. 334, §1; Acts 2012, No. 730, §1; Acts 2015, No. 124, §1, eff. June 19, 2015.