Court Hearings for the Permanent Placement of Children - Connecticut

Date:

Schedule of Hearings

Citation: Gen. Stat. § 46b-129

A review hearing shall be held within 60 days of the child's removal from the home.

Permanency hearings must be held as follows:

  • Nine months after the child or youth has been placed in the care and custody of the Commissioner of Children and Families
  • Nine months after a permanency plan has been approved by the court
  • Every 12 months after the initial permanency hearing while the child or youth remains in care or, if the youth is age 18 or older, while the youth remains in voluntary placement with the Department of Children and Families

Persons Entitled to Attend Hearings

Citation: Gen. Stat. § 46b-129

The court shall provide notice to the child or youth and the parent or guardian of the child or youth of the time and place of the court hearing no less than 14 days prior to such hearing.

A foster parent, prospective adoptive parent, or relative caregiver shall receive notice and have the right to be heard in any proceeding concerning a foster child living with such foster parent, prospective adoptive parent, or relative caregiver. A foster parent, prospective adoptive parent, or relative caregiver who has cared for a child shall have the right to be heard and comment on the best interests of such child in any proceeding that is brought no later than 1 year after the last day the foster parent, prospective adoptive parent, or relative caregiver provided such care.

Upon motion of any sibling of any child or youth committed to the department, such sibling shall have the right to be heard concerning visitation with, and placement of, any such child. In awarding any visitation or modifying any placement, the court shall be guided by the best interests of all siblings affected by such determination.

Determinations Made at Hearings

Citation: Gen. Stat. § 46b-129

At the review hearing, the court shall determine whether the department made reasonable efforts to keep the child or youth with his or her parents or guardian prior to the removal of the child or youth from home and, if such efforts were not made, whether such reasonable efforts were not possible, taking into consideration the child or youth's best interests, including his or her health and safety.

At the permanency hearing, the court shall ask the child or youth about his or her desired permanency outcome and shall do the following:

  • Review the status of the child
  • Review the progress being made to implement the permanency plan
  • Determine a timetable for attaining the permanency plan
  • Determine the services to be provided to the parent if the court approves a permanency plan of reunification and the timetable for such services
  • Determine whether the department has made reasonable efforts to achieve the permanency plan

If the permanency plan for a child age 16 of age or older includes the goal of another planned permanent living arrangement, the department shall document the following for the court:

  • The manner and frequency of efforts made by the department to return the child home or to secure placement for the child with a fit and willing relative, legal guardian, or adoptive parent
  • The steps the department has taken to ensure that the child's foster family home or child care institution is following a reasonable and prudent parent standard and the child has regular opportunities to engage in age-appropriate and developmentally appropriate activities

If the permanency plan for a child age 16 or older includes the goal of another planned permanent living arrangement, the court shall do the following:

  • Ask the child about his or her desired permanency outcome or, if the child is unavailable to appear at a permanency hearing, require the attorney for the child to consult with the child regarding the child's desired permanency outcome and report the same to the court
  • Make a judicial determination that, as of the date of hearing, another planned permanent living arrangement is the best permanency plan for the child
  • Document the compelling reasons why it is not in the best interest of the child to return home or to be placed with a fit and willing relative, legal guardian, or adoptive parent

Permanency Options

Citation: Gen. Stat. § 46b-129

At the permanency hearing, the court shall approve a permanency plan that is in the best interests of the child and takes into consideration the child's need for permanency. The child's health and safety shall be of paramount concern in formulating the plan. Such permanency plan may include the goal of one of the following:

  • Revocation of commitment and reunification of the child with the parent, with or without protective supervision
  • Transfer of guardianship or permanent legal guardianship
  • Filing of termination of parental rights and adoption
  • For a child age 16 or older, another planned permanent living arrangement

Another planned permanent living arrangement may be ordered by the court only after the commissioner of the department has documented a compelling reason why it would not be in the best interests of the child for the permanency plan to include another permanency goal. Such other planned permanent living arrangement shall, whenever possible, include an adult who has a significant relationship with the child and who is willing to be a permanency resource, and may include, but not be limited to, placement of a youth in an independent living program or long-term foster care with an identified foster parent.