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Juvenile Court Rules

Rules for the Care and Protection of Children

Juvenile Court Rules Rules for the Care and Protection of Children: Rule 19. Trial judge's order, findings of fact and conclusions of law and notification by clerk of issuance of findings of fact and conclusions of law

Effective Date: 11/05/2018
Updates: Amended July 27, 2018, effective November 5, 2018

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Table of Contents

A. Entry of adjudication, order of commitment, order dispensing with the need for consent to adoption, allowance or denial of guardianship petition

Upon adjudication, order of commitment, or order dispensing with the right of the parents to receive notice of or consent to the adoption, custody, or guardianship or any other disposition of the child or an allowance or denial of a guardianship petition, the clerk shall forthwith enter that adjudication, order, allowance or denial on the court's docket. If the court issues a permanent mittimus or grants permanent custody of a child to the Department, the court shall schedule the case for review which shall be no later than six months from the date of the mittimus or custody order and every six months thereafter until permanency has been achieved for the child.

B. Notice

Immediately following the clerk's entry of the above adjudication, order, allowance or denial on the docket, the clerk shall notify all attorneys of record and parties who are self-represented by mail or electronically, of the entry of that adjudication, order, allowance or denial. The clerk shall note on the docket, or otherwise record electronically, the names of the persons to whom the notice was sent, with the date notified. This notice shall include: 1) a copy of the adjudication, order, allowance or denial; 2) the date of the clerk's entry; and 3) notice that each party has thirty (30) days from the date of entry within which to file a claim of appeal.

In all cases in which the court issues an order dispensing with the right of the parents to receive notice of or consent to the adoption, custody, or guardianship or any other disposition of the child, the court shall enter the order or decree on a document separate from any findings of fact and conclusions of law.

D. Trial judge's findings of fact and conclusions of law

The trial judge, upon making an adjudication or issuing an order of commitment or an order dispensing with the right of the parents to receive notice of or consent to the adoption, custody, or guardianship or any other disposition of the child, shall file with the clerk, consistent with time standards promulgated by the Chief Justice of the Juvenile Court, findings of fact and conclusions of law to support the order and/or adjudication.

E. Notification to all parties by clerk

Immediately upon the filing of the findings of fact and conclusions of law, the clerk shall mail or transmit a copy to each attorney of record and party who is self-represented.

Note

After an adjudication, the judge may make any appropriate dispositional order including conditions and limitations relative to the care and custody of the child. The dispositional order may include, but is not limited to, reunification with the parent, guardian, or other custodian found by the court to be qualified to care for the child; custody to any agency or private organization licensed or otherwise authorized to provide care for the child; or custody to the Department. G. L. c. 119, § 26(b).

Although issuance of a permanent mittimus or grant of permanent custody to the Department is a permissible post-adjudication order under § 26(b), these alternatives are not considered to be permanent plans for children under Rule 9(a)(1) of Trial Court Rule VI Uniform Rules for Permanency Hearings. Accordingly, this rule requires the court to schedule a review of these cases no later than six months after the date of the issuance of a permanent mittimus or order of permanent custody to the Department and every six months thereafter until the child is returned to his/her parents, is adopted, is placed with a third party custodian, a permanent guardian is appointed, or the child ages out of the system.

While an alternative planned permanent living arrangement ("APPLA") is considered to be a possible permanency plan for a child sixteen years of age or over under Rule 9(a)(1) of the Uniform Rules for Permanency Hearings, it does not achieve legal permanency for the child. Therefore, if APPLA is approved by the court as the permanency plan, the court must schedule a review of the case every six months thereafter until the child is returned to his/her parents, is adopted, is placed with a third party custodian, a permanent guardian is appointed, or the child ages out of the system. The review required in section A of this rule is different from the right of review and redetermination under G. L. c. 119, § 26(c); rather it is established by this rule to permit the court to assess progress toward permanency in keeping with the best practices for achieving legal permanency for children.

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