A. The purpose of the hearing shall be:

       1. to determine and periodically review the permanency plan for each child; and

       2. to aid in the implementation of such plan in a timely manner.

B. The hearing pursuant to these rules may be held simultaneously with a trial, review and redetermination, other hearing, or other proceeding in the matter.

C. The Committing Court shall convene the hearing within twelve (12) months of the original commitment, grant of custody or transfer of responsibility of the child to the Department, and not less frequently than every twelve (12) months thereafter, while the child remains in the care or custody of the Department. However, a permanency hearing shall be held within thirty (30) days of a hearing at which a court determines that reasonable efforts to preserve and reunify the family are not required pursuant to G.L. c. 119, § 29C .

Where practical and where there will be no undue delay. the hearing shall be conducted by the judge who entered the original order of commitment.

D. Failure of one or more parties to appear shall not preclude the court from proceeding with the hearing.

E. Pursuant to G.L. c. 119, § 29D , foster parents, pre-adoptive parents or relatives providing care for the child have the right to attend the hearing and be heard. Failure of one or more non-parties to appear shall not preclude the court from proceeding with the hearing.

F. The court shall consider the Department's plan for the child and any objections filed pursuant to Rule 3E . The author of the Department's plan shall be available for cross-examination by each of the parties. At the same hearing, the court shall consider the provisions of G.L. c. 119, § 29C .

As amended, effective September 5, 2000.

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