Court Hearings for the Permanent Placement of Children - Idaho

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Schedule of Hearings

Citation: Idaho Code §§ 16-1620; 16-1621; 16-1622

After a judicial determination that reasonable efforts to return the child to his home are not required because aggravated circumstances were found to be present, the court shall hold a permanency hearing within 30 days after the finding and every 12 months thereafter for as long as the court has jurisdiction. In every case in which the child is determined to be within the jurisdiction of the court, including cases in which the parent is incarcerated, and there is no judicial determination that aggravated circumstances were present, the Department of Health and Welfare shall prepare a written case plan. The court shall schedule a case plan hearing to be held within 30 days after the adjudicatory hearing.

A hearing for a review of the child's case and permanency plan shall be held no later than 6 months after the entry of the court's order taking jurisdiction over the child and every 6 months thereafter. A permanency hearing shall be held no later than 12 months from the date the child is removed from the home or the date of the court's order taking jurisdiction under this chapter, whichever occurs first, and at least every 12 months thereafter, so long as the court has jurisdiction over the child. The permanency hearing may be combined with the review hearing.

Persons Entitled to Attend Hearings

Citation: Idaho Code §§ 16-1620; 16-1621

Notice of the permanency hearing shall be provided to the parents and other legal guardians, prosecuting attorney or deputy attorney general, guardian ad litem, attorney for the child, the department, and foster parents, provided however, that foster parents are not thereby made parties to the child protective act action.

Notice of the case plan hearing shall be provided to the child's parents and other legal guardians, the prosecuting attorney or deputing attorney general, the guardian ad litem, the attorney for the child, the department, and foster parents. Although foster parents are provided notice of this hearing, they are not parties to the child protective action.

Determinations Made at Hearings

Citation: Idaho Code § 16-1622

The purpose of the case review hearing is to do the following:

  • To determine the following:
    • The safety of the child
    • The continuing necessity for and appropriateness of the placement
    • The extent of compliance with the case plan
    • The extent of progress that has been made toward alleviating or mitigating the causes necessitating placement in foster care
  • To determine or continue to investigate whether the child is an Indian child
  • To inquire regarding the child's educational stability, including the efforts made to keep the child in the school in which the child is enrolled at the time of placement or the reason that remaining in the school is not in the child's best interests
  • To inquire regarding sibling placement, including whether siblings were placed together; or, if siblings were not placed together, the efforts made to place siblings together; the reasons why siblings were not placed together; and a plan for ensuring frequent visitation or ongoing interaction between the siblings, unless visitation or ongoing interaction would be contrary to the safety or well-being of one or more of the siblings
  • To inquire regarding permanency
  • To document whether the youth's foster parents or child care institution is following the reasonable and prudent parent standard when deciding whether the child may participate in extracurricular, enrichment, cultural, and social activities
  • To document efforts made to find a permanent placement other than another planned permanent living arrangement
  • To document and inquire regarding psychotropic medication
  • To project, when reasonable, a likely date by which the child may be safely returned to and maintained in the home or placed in another permanent placement

At the permanency hearing the court shall approve, reject, or modify the permanency plan of the department and review progress in accomplishing the permanency goal. The court shall make written case-specific findings whether the department made reasonable efforts to finalize the primary permanency goal in effect for the child. Lack of reasonable efforts to reunify may be a basis for an order approving a permanency plan with a permanency goal of reunification.

When the permanency goal is not reunification, the hearing shall include a review of the department's consideration of options for in-State and out-of-State placement of the child. In the case of a child in an out-of-State placement, the court shall determine whether the out-of-State placement continues to be appropriate and in the best interests of the child.

The court shall ask each youth age 12 and older about his or her desired permanency outcome and discuss with the youth his or her current permanency plan. In the case of a child who has reached age 14 and older, the hearing shall include a determination of the services needed to assist the youth to make the transition from foster care to successful adulthood.

The court may authorize the department to suspend further efforts to reunify the child with the child's parent, pending further order of the court, when a permanency plan is approved by the court and the permanency plan does not include a permanency goal of reunification.

Permanency Options

Citation: Idaho Code § 16-1622

The permanency plan shall include a permanency goal. The permanency goal may be one of the following:

  • In the absence of a judicial determination of aggravated circumstances, continued efforts at reunification
  • Termination of parental rights and adoption, guardianship, or another planned permanent living arrangement

The court may approve a permanency plan that includes a primary goal and a concurrent goal.

The court may approve a primary permanency goal of another planned permanent living arrangement only for youth age 16 or older and only upon written, case-specific findings that, as of the date of the hearing, the following apply:

  • Another planned permanent living arrangement is the best permanency goal for the youth.
  • There are compelling reasons why it is not in the best interests of the youth to be placed permanently with a parent; in an adoptive placement; in a guardianship; or in the legal custody of the department in a placement with a fit and willing relative, including an adult sibling.