Trial Court Rules

Uniform Rules for Permanency Hearings

Trial Court Rules Uniform Rules for Permanency Hearings Rule 9: Orders

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

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(a) Permanency plan

The court shall determine the permanency plan for the child or young adult going forward and when that plan will be implemented.

(1) Permanency plan options include: reunification, adoption, guardianship, permanent care with kin, and APPLA.

(2) In determining the permanency plan, the health and safety of the child or young adult shall be of paramount, but not exclusive, concern.

(3) If the child is an Indian child, the court shall determine and document in writing whether the placement preferences required by 25 U.S.C. § 1915 have been applied in any foster care, pre-adoptive, or adoptive placement, unless it determines that good cause exists to not apply those placement preferences.

(4) If the court determines the permanency plan for a child or young adult to be APPLA, the court shall make findings regarding why APPLA is the best permanency plan for the child or young adult and the compelling reasons why it continues to not be in the best interests of the child or young adult to return home, be placed for adoption, be placed with a legal guardian, or be placed with a fit and willing relative.

(b) Reasonable efforts pursuant to G.L. c. 119, §§ 29B, 29C

The court shall 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 permanency plan other than reunification, to implement the previously determined permanency plan. The court is not required to make a reasonable efforts determination at an expedited permanency hearing as described in Rule 3(a)(2). A determination by the court that the Department has not made reasonable efforts does not preclude the court from entering any appropriate order as may be in the child or young adult's best interests.

(c) Services needed for children age 14 or older or young adults

For a child age 14 or older and for a young adult, the court shall determine whether the services the child or young adult needs are in place to assist him or her to make a transition from foster care to a successful adulthood.

(d) Satisfactory transition plan

After a hearing conducted pursuant to Rule 3(c), the court shall determine whether the proposed transition plan is satisfactory and shall retain jurisdiction of the matter until it finds that a satisfactory transition plan has been provided for the child or young adult. 

(e) Orders in the best interest of the child or young adult

At a permanency hearing, including at a hearing conducted pursuant to Rule 3(c), the court may make any appropriate order in the child's or young adult's best interest, including but not limited to orders with respect to the child's or young adult's care or custody or that will aid in the implementation of the permanency plan.

(f) Findings

The court need not enter findings absent an appeal from its order with the exception of those findings required by law or this Rule.

Commentary

Rule 9(a)(3). "Good cause" is defined pursuant to 25 C.F.R. § 23.132 (effective December 12, 2016). There are two sets of placement preferences. In adoptive  placements, where the Indian child's tribe has not established a different order of preference, placement preferences for the child must descend as follows: 1) a member of the Indian child's extended family; 2) other members of the Indian child's Tribe; or 3) other Indian families. 25 C.F.R. § 23.130(a). If the Indian child's Tribe has established by resolution a different order of preference than that specified in ICWA, the Tribe's placement preferences apply. 25 C.F.R. § 23.130(b). The court must, where appropriate, also consider the placement preference of the Indian child or Indian child's parent. 25 C.F.R. § 23.130(c)(effective December 12, 2016). In any foster care or pre-adoptive placement, including changes in foster-care or pre-adoptive placement, the child must be placed in the least restrictive setting that most approximates a family, taking into consideration sibling attachment; that allows the Indian child's special needs (if any) to be met; and is in reasonable proximity to the Indian child's home, extended family, or siblings. In any foster care or pre-adoptive placement, including changes in foster care or pre-adoptive placement, where the Indian child's Tribe has not specified a different order, placement preferences for the child must descend as follows: 1) a member of the Indian child's extended family; 2) a foster home licensed, approved or specified by the Tribe; 3) an Indian foster home licensed or approved by an authorized, non-Indian licensing authority; and 4) an Indian institution. The court must, where appropriate, also consider the preference of the Indian child or the Indian child's parent. See Indian Child Welfare Act 25 U.S.C. §1915; 25 C.F.R. §§ 23.130-134 (effective December 12, 2016).

Rule 9(e). See G.L. c. 119, § 29B(c) ("the court shall retain jurisdiction until it finds, after a hearing at which the person is present unless the person chooses otherwise, that a satisfactory transition plan has been provided for the person").

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