Trial Court Rules

Uniform Rules for Permanency Hearings

Trial Court Rules Uniform Rules for Permanency Hearings Rule 4: Permanency reports

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

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(a) Permanency reports for all children and young adults

Permanency reports for all children and young adults shall be in writing and shall include the following:

(1)

identifying information about the child or young adult and biological family including siblings as well as the Department's efforts to identify whether the child is an Indian
Child and the result of those efforts;

(2)

a brief history of the legal and clinical case, including placement history;

(3)

the efforts the Department has made to engage and include the family in the development of the permanency plan, including the child, as appropriate, or young adult.

(4)

the proposed permanent plan for the child or young adult, including:

i. when the plan will be accomplished,

ii. what steps the Department has taken and will take to implement the permanency plan for the child or young adult, and

iii. if the plan is APPLA, the compelling reason for proposing that plan, and why it continues to not be in the best interests of the child to return home; be placed for adoption; be placed with a legal guardian; or be placed with fit and willing kin.

(5)

services and other assistance provided, currently and in the past, to safely reunify the child with his or her parent or guardian, or, if the court has previously determined a plan other than reunification, to further that permanency plan, and the engagement of all parties with those services. The report shall include any services and needed assistance provided to accommodate a parent, child, or young adult's disability, and how the services and assistance provided are specifically tailored to meet the parent, child, or young adult's cultural background and language needs;

(6)

information about the current placement including: how it meets the child's or young adult's current needs and furthers the permanency plan; if the child is not placed in family foster care, the reasons the Department determined the child is in need of special care, treatment or education, and if the child is placed in foster care outside the state in which the child's parents' home is located, why the out-of-state placement continues to be appropriate and in the child's best interests;

(7)

medical information about the child or young adult, including ongoing treatment and medications being provided to the child or young adult, and, if the child or young adult is medically needy, a description of his or her individualized health care plan;

(8)

the plan for visits and/or contact with parents and among siblings;

(9)

results of any internal reviews by the foster care review unit;

(10)

a description of the child's or the young adult's educational history, needs, and current status, including efforts made to maintain school stability;

(11)

information about the regular, ongoing opportunities the child or young adult has had to engage in age and developmentally appropriate activities; and

(12)

if the proposed permanency plan for the child or young adult is APPLA:

i. the intensive, ongoing, and, as of the date of the report, unsuccessful efforts made by the Department to return the child or young adult home or secure a placement for the child or young adult with kin, a legal guardian, or an adoptive parent, including efforts that utilize search technology to find biological family members, and

ii. what steps the Department has taken to ensure that the foster care provider of the child or young adult is following the reasonable and prudent parent standard.

(b) Permanency reports for children age 14 or older and young adults

For a child age 14 or older or a young adult, the permanency report shall include the information required under Rule 4(a) as well as information about any additional or specialized services provided to the child or young adult to assist with the transition to successful adulthood. Such services include those designed to help the child or young adult:

(1) build relationships with other caring adults, particularly with life-long connections;

(2) make an education plan;

(3) find vocational, employment, and career counseling and placement;

(4) secure stable housing;

(5) develop expertise in daily living skills;

(6) maintain physical and mental health care and health insurance;

(7) learn how to access community resources and public benefits and services;

(8) connect with other state agencies; and

(9) develop financial skills including receiving, understanding, and correcting, if applicable, his/her consumer credit report.

(c) Permanency reports for children who are age 17 years and 9 months or older and for young adults

For a child in the care or custody or under the responsibility of the Department who is age 17 years and 9 months or older or for a young adult, the permanency report shall include the information required under Rule 4(a) and Rule 4(b) as well as a proposed transition plan. Proposed transition plans shall be personalized at the direction of the child or young adult, be as detailed as the child or young adult shall elect, and include specific options on:

(1) stable housing;

(2) health insurance;

(3) physical and mental health care including the designation of a health care proxy;

(4) educational services;

(5) long-term connections with mentors and caring adults;

(6) continuing support services including state agencies;

(7) workforce supports and employment services; and

(8) maintaining contact with siblings still in DCF custody or care.

Commentary

Rule (4)(a)(3). Permanency plan options include: reunification, adoption, guardianship, permanent care with kin, and APPLA. See 42 U.S.C. § 675(5)(C)(i); G.L. c. 119, § 29(a)(v); DCF Permanency Planning Policy #2013-01 (July 1, 2013) at 22, 29-51.

Rule 4(a)(5) Information about the placement may include: (i) the type and level of placement; (ii) whether the child is placed with kin and, if not, the reasons why not; (iii) whether the child is placed with siblings and, if not, the reasons why the department determined placement with siblings is not in the child's best interests; (iv) if the child is not placed in family foster care, the reasons why the child requires a more restrictive setting; (v) if an Indian child is placed in a non-preferred placement as described in Rule 9(c)(3), why the department determined there was "good cause" to not follow the placement preferences required by 25 U.S.C. § 1915(b)

Rule 4(a)(11)(ii). See 42 U.S.C. § 675(10)(A) (definition of the reasonable and prudent parent standard). The reasonable and prudent parent standard means the standard a caregiver shall use to ensure that children are participating in age and developmentally appropriate extracurricular, enrichment, cultural, and social activities.

Rule 4(b). For a child who is age 14 or older or for a young adult, the Department may already have developed a Youth Readiness Assessment Tool, which identifies and prioritizes the skill development needed to prepare the child or young adult for the transition to adulthood.

Rule 4(b)(5). Examples of daily living skills include driving, navigating public transportation, maintaining healthy relationships, opening a bank account, and budgeting. The child or young adult may need, and the Department is required to provide, certain personal documents in order to develop these skills, such as a birth certificate, social security card, other identification, a credit report (annually), and a document that describes the right of the child or young adult to education, health care, visitation, and court participation.

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