Trial Court Rules

Uniform Rules for Permanency Hearings

Trial Court Rules Uniform Rules for Permanency Hearings Rule 8: The permanency hearing

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

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(a) Purpose of the permanency hearing

The purpose of the Permanency Hearing shall be to:

(1) determine the permanency plan for the child or young adult and when the plan will be implemented;

(2) aid in the timely implementation of such plan; and

(3) determine whether the Department has made reasonable efforts to safely reunify the child or young adult with his or her parent or guardian, or if the court has previously determined under Rule 9(c) a plan other than reunification, to implement the previously determined plan.

(b) Parties and non-parties

(1) Any child or young adult who is a party has a right to attend the permanency hearing. There shall be a presumption that the child who is age 14 or older or the young adult will attend the permanency hearing. If the child age 14 or older or the young adult is not present at the hearing, the court will inquire of counsel for the child or young adult as to the reason his or her client is not present.

(2) 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 permanency hearing and be heard. Nothing in this provision shall be construed to provide that such foster parent, pre-adoptive parent or relative shall be made a party to the proceeding by exercising his/her right to attend and be heard.

(3) Failure of one or more parties or non-parties to appear shall not preclude the court from proceeding with the permanency hearing.

(c) The hearing

(1) The permanency hearing, including the hearing as described in Rule 3(c), shall be conducted in the same manner as any other hearing unless otherwise stated in these Rules. At the hearing, the judge will review the permanency report, any objections and responses, and make the determinations required by these Rules.

(2) The author of the Department's permanency report shall be available for cross-examination by each of the parties.

(3) The judge who entered the adjudication, or if there has not been an adjudication, who entered the original order of commitment, grant of custody, or transfer of responsibility of a child or young adult to the Department shall conduct the hearing unless impractical or would cause undue delay.

(4) The court shall consult with the child or young adult in an age-appropriate manner about the permanency report and the permanency plan. Counsel for the child or young adult shall be prepared to provide the court with the child's position regarding the permanency report and the permanency plan.

(5) The permanency hearing, including the hearing as described in Rule 3(c), may be held simultaneously with a trial, review and redetermination, other hearing, or other proceeding in the matter, but no later than the scheduling requirements contained in Rule 3(a)(1).

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