Trial Court Rules

Uniform Rules for Permanency Hearings

Trial Court Rules Uniform Rules for Permanency Hearings Rule 2: Scope of Rules and Definitions

Effective Date: 03/01/2018
Updates: Approved January 10, 2018, effective March 1, 2018

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(a) Scope

These rules govern the procedure for hearings conducted pursuant to G.L. c. 119, § 29B in the Juvenile, District, and Probate and Family Court Departments. Procedures not addressed by these rules shall be governed by the rules of procedure applicable to the court in which the matter is heard.

(b) Definitions

The following definitions apply in this Rule:

(1) "APPLA" -- another permanent planned living arrangement or an alternative planned permanent living arrangement in which the Department maintains care and custody or responsibility of a child age 16 or older or of a young adult and arranges a stable living situation for that child or young adult when it continues not to be in the best interest of the child or young adult to pursue another permanency option.

(2) "Child" -- a person under the age of eighteen.

(3) "Clerk's Office" -- the office of the Clerk-Magistrate or Register of Probate of the court where the permanency hearing is scheduled.

(4) "Department" -- the Department of Children and Families, or its successor agency.

(5) "Indian Child" -- an unmarried child who either is a member of a federally recognized Indian tribe or is eligible for membership in a federally recognized Indian tribe and a biological child of a member pursuant to the Indian Child Welfare Act, 25 U.S.C. § 1903.

(6) "Kin" - any person to whom a child and/or the child's parent(s) and family members ascribe a "family" relationship. Such individual may be related by blood, marriage or adoption or a person to whom the child and/or parent(s) ascribe the role of family based on cultural and affectional ties or individual family values.

(7) "Parent" -- a child's biological, adoptive, or legal mother or father.

(8) "Party" -- a person who is a party in the underlying case, except the parent of a young adult or a parent whose parental rights have been terminated under G.L. c. 119, § 26 or G.L. c. 210, § 3 or who has signed a voluntary surrender under G.L. c. 119, § 23(a)(2) or G.L. c. 210, § 2.

(9) "Permanency Hearing" -- a hearing conducted pursuant to G.L. c. 119, § 29B and as described in these Rules.

(10) "Permanency Plan" -- a plan for the child as determined by the court pursuant to G.L. c. 119, § 29B and Rule 9, that addresses whether, and if applicable when, the child or young adult will be: (i) returned to the parent; (ii) placed for adoption and the steps the Department will take to free the child for adoption; (iii) referred for legal guardianship; (iv) placed in permanent care with kin; or (v) placed in APPLA.

(11) "Permanency Report" -- a written document prepared by the Department and reviewed by the court at the permanency hearing regarding a child in the care or custody or under the responsibility of the Department or a young adult, which sets forth the Department's proposed permanency plan and the efforts it has made and will make to implement the permanency plan in a timely manner as detailed in Rule 4.

(12) "Transition Plan" -- a plan which includes the components listed in Rule 4(c), approved by the court pursuant to G.L. c. 119, § 29B(c) for a child who is age 17 years and 9 months or older or for a young adult who will be leaving care within the next 90 days.

(13) "Young Adult" -- a person between the ages of 18 and 22 under the responsibility of the Department pursuant to G.L. c. 119, § 23(f).

Commentary

Rule 2(b)(l) APPLA. Federal law uses the term another planned permanent living arrangement. 42 U.S.C. § 675a. State law uses the term another permanent planned living arrangement. G.L. c. 119, § 29(a)(v). The Department of Children and Families (DCF) uses the term alternative planned permanent living arrangement. DCF Permanency Planning Policy #2013-01 (July I, 2013) at 22, 51. For purposes of this Rule, the terms are interchangeable and expressed as APPLA.

Rule 2(b)(12) Transition Plan. Federal law also describes the components of a transition plan. See 42 U.S.C. § 675(5)(H).

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