Court Hearings for the Permanent Placement of Children - Hawaii

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Schedule of Hearings

Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 587A-30; 587A-31

The court shall set a periodic review hearing to be conducted no later than 6 months after a child's date of entry into foster care. Thereafter, the court shall conduct periodic review hearings every 6 months until the court's jurisdiction is terminated, unless the child is in the permanent custody of the Department of Human Services or an authorized agency.

If the child is in the permanent custody of the department or agency, the court shall conduct a permanency hearing every 6 months until the court's jurisdiction is terminated.

A permanency hearing shall be conducted within 12 months of the child's date of entry into foster care or within 30 days of a judicial determination that the child is an abandoned infant or that aggravated circumstances are present. A permanency hearing shall be conducted at least every 12 months thereafter for as long as the child remains in foster care under the placement responsibility of the department or an authorized agency, or every 6 months thereafter if the child remains in the permanent custody of the department or an authorized agency.

A permanency hearing may be held concurrently with a periodic review hearing.

Persons Entitled to Attend Hearings

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 587A-14

Notice of hearings shall be served on the parties. No further notice is required for any party that defaulted or was given actual notice of a hearing while present in court. Notice of hearings shall be served no less than 48 hours before the scheduled hearing, subject to a shortening of time as ordered by the court.

The child's current resource family shall be served written notice of hearings no less than 48 hours before a scheduled hearing. The resource family is entitled to participate in the proceedings to provide information to the court, either in person or in writing, concerning the current status of the child in their care.

For purposes of this section, 'party' or 'parties' shall include the current foster parents.

Determinations Made at Hearings

Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 587A-30; 587A-31; 587A-32

At the hearing, the court shall determine whether the child is receiving appropriate services and care and whether the case plan is being properly implemented. The court shall determine the following:

  • Whether the child is safe
  • The continued need for and appropriateness of the out-of-home placement
  • The extent to which each party has complied with the case plan
  • The family's progress in making their home safe for the child and resolving the problems that caused the child harm or to be threatened with harm and, if applicable, the necessity for continued out-of-home placement of the child

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

  • The projected timetable for reunification or, if the current placement is not expected to be permanent, placement in an adoptive home, with a legal guardian, or under the permanent custody of the department
  • Whether the department has made reasonable efforts, in accordance with the safety and well-being of the child, to do the following:
    • Place siblings who have been removed from the family home in the same out-of-home placement
    • Provide for frequent visitation or other interactions with siblings who are not living in the same household
  • The appropriate permanency goal for the child, including whether a change in goal is necessary
  • Whether the department has made reasonable efforts to finalize the permanency goal
  • The date by which the permanency goal for the child is to be achieved
  • In the case of a child age 14 or older, the services needed to assist the child with the transition to independent living

A permanent plan prepared for a periodic review hearing or a permanency hearing shall describe the following:

  • Progress toward achieving the goal of the plan
  • Proposed revisions to the goal of the plan and reasons for the revisions
  • Proposed revisions to the methods for achieving the goals of the plan and objectives and the reasons for the revisions

Permanency Options

Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 587A-31; 587A-32

At each permanency hearing, the court shall order one of the following:

  • The child's reunification with a parent or parents
  • The child's continued placement in foster care when the following apply:
    • Reunification is expected to occur within a timeframe that is consistent with the developmental needs of the child.
    • The safety and health of the child can be adequately safeguarded.
  • A permanent plan with a goal of one of the following:
    • Placing the child for adoption with the department filing a motion for the termination of parental rights
    • Placing the child for legal guardianship, if the department documents and presents to the court a compelling reason why termination of parental rights and adoption are not in the best interests of the child
    • Awarding permanent custody to the department or an authorized agency, if the department documents and presents to the court a compelling reason why adoption and legal guardianship are not in the best interests of the child

The permanent plan shall discuss the following:

  • State whether the permanency goal for the child will be achieved through adoption, legal guardianship, or permanent custody
  • Establish a reasonable period of time by which the adoption or legal guardianship shall be finalized
  • Document either of the following:
    • A compelling reason why legal guardianship or permanent custody is in the child's best interests if adoption is not the goal
    • A compelling reason why permanent custody is in the child's best interests if adoption or legal guardianship is not the goal
  • Establish other related goals, including those pertaining to the stability of the child's placement; education; health; therapy; counseling; relationship with the child's birth family, including visits, if any; cultural connections; and preparation for independent living
  • If a child has reached age 14, describe the services needed to assist the child with the transition from foster care to independent living
  • Describe the methods for achieving the goals and objectives set forth in the plan