Court Hearings for the Permanent Placement of Children - Arizona

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Schedule of Hearings

Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 8-847; 8-862

After the disposition hearing, the court shall hold periodic review hearings at least once every 6 months as required by Federal law.

The court shall hold a permanency hearing to determine the future permanent legal status of the child, as follows:

  • Within 30 days after the disposition hearing if the court does not order reunification services
  • Within 6 months after a child who is under age 3 is removed from the child's home
  • In all other cases, within 12 months after the child is removed from the child's home

If the court determines that the child should remain in out-of-home placement longer than 18 months from the date of the permanency order, the court shall conduct a review of the order at least once each year. After reviewing the order, the court may reaffirm the order or direct other disposition of the child.

Persons Entitled to Attend Hearings

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 8-847

The following persons shall be provided notice of the review and the right to participate in the proceeding:

  • The agency charged with the child's care and custody
  • Any foster parents in whose home the child resided within the last 6 months
  • A shelter care facility or receiving foster home where the child resides or has resided within the last 6 months for more than 30 days
  • The child's parent or guardian, unless the parental rights of that parent or guardian have been terminated
  • The child, if age 12 or older
  • The child's relative, if the relative files a written notice of right of participation with the court
  • A person permitted by the court to intervene as a party in the dependency proceeding
  • A physical custodian of the child within the preceding 6 months
  • Any person who has filed a petition to adopt or who has physical custody pursuant to a foster-adoptive placement
  • Any other person as the court may direct

Determinations Made at Hearings

Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 8-845; 8-862

In reviewing the status of the child, the court shall consider the health and safety of the child as a paramount concern and the following criteria:

  • The goals of the placement and the appropriateness of the case plan
  • The services that have been offered to reunite the family
  • If returning the child home is not likely, the efforts that have been or should be made to evaluate or plan for other permanent placement plans
  • The efforts that have been made or should be made to place the child with the child's siblings or to provide frequent visitation or contact when placement with siblings has not been possible

The court shall review the permanent plan that has been established for the child. In reviewing the status of the child, the court, insofar as possible, shall seek to reunite the family. If the court does not order reunification of the family, the court shall order a plan of adoption or another permanent plan that is in the child's best interests and that takes into consideration the placement of the child with siblings or that provides for frequent visitation or contact among siblings, unless the court determines that either the placement with the siblings or the visitation or contact would be contrary to the child's or a sibling's safety or well-being.

At the permanency hearing, the court shall determine the following:

  • Whether termination of parental rights, adoption, permanent guardianship, or some other permanent legal status is the most appropriate plan for the child
  • Whether reasonable efforts have been made to finalize the permanency plan in effect
  • What efforts have been made in the permanency plan to place the child with the child's siblings or to provide frequent visitation or contact, unless the court had already determined that placement with all or any siblings or visitation or contact is not possible or would be contrary to the child's or a sibling's safety or well-being

Permanency Options

Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 8-845; 8-862

If placement with the child's parents is contrary to the child's welfare, the court may place the child as follows, in accordance with the child's best interests:

  • With a grandparent or another member of the child's extended family, including a person who has a significant relationship with the child
  • In a licensed foster home
  • In an appropriate public or private agency licensed to care for children
  • In a suitable school
  • In the independent living program
  • With any adult as a permanent guardian

At the permanency hearing, the court shall determine whether termination of parental rights, adoption, permanent guardianship, or some other permanent legal status is the most appropriate plan for the child and shall order the plan to be accomplished within a specified period of time.

If the child is an Indian child, as defined pursuant to the Indian Child Welfare Act (25 U.S.C. § 1903), the court and the parties must comply with all applicable requirements of that act.

For the purposes of this subsection, a prospective permanent placement includes the following:

  • A grandparent or another member of the child's extended family including a person who has a significant relationship with the child
  • A person or persons with an expressed interest in being the permanent placement for the child in a certified adoptive home where the child resides, a home that is a permanent placement for a sibling of the child, or a licensed family foster home where the child resides