Court Hearings for the Permanent Placement of Children - Louisiana

Date:

Schedule of Hearings

Citation: Ch. Code Art. 692; 702

A case review hearing shall be held as follows:

  • Within 3 months of the disposition hearing if the child was removed from the home prior to the hearing
  • Within 6 months of the removal of the child
  • Every 6 months thereafter until the child is permanently placed

A permanency hearing shall be held as follows:

  • Within 30 days of a finding that reunification is not required
  • Within 9 months of the disposition hearing if the child was removed from the home prior to the hearing, but in no case more than 12 months after the removal of the child
  • Every 12 months thereafter until the child is permanently placed

Persons Entitled to Attend Hearings

Citation: Ch. Code Art. 698; 708

The following persons may be present at either a case review or permanency hearing:

  • All parties
  • Foster parents
  • Adoptive parents
  • Relatives providing care for the child
  • Authorized officers of the court as designated by the judge
  • Agency representatives as designated by the State
  • The court-appointed special advocate volunteer
  • The witness under examination

Determinations Made at Hearings

Citation: Ch. Code Art. 690; 702

The case review shall address the following:

  • The continuing necessity and appropriateness of the placement
  • The extent of compliance with the case plan
  • Extent of progress toward correcting the circumstances necessitating placement in foster care
  • A likely date by which the child may be returned to the home or placed for adoption or guardianship
  • Whether the Department of Social Services has made reasonable efforts to reunify the family or to finalize the child's placement

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

  • Whether the department has made reasonable efforts to reunify the parent and child or to finalize the child's placement in an alternative safe and permanent home in accordance with the child's permanent plan
  • If a child is in an out-of-State placement, whether the placement is safe, appropriate, and in the best interests of the child
  • When reunification is determined to be the permanent plan for the child, whether parents understand that it is their obligation to achieve the case plan goals and correct the conditions that require the child to be in care within the time period specified by the court

In the case of a child age 14 or older, the hearing shall include a review of the transitional plan developed with the child and the agency in accordance with article 675(B)(6). In any permanency hearing for a child whose permanent plan is placement in the least restrictive, most family-like alternative permanent living arrangement, the court or administrative body conducting the hearing shall ask the child about his or her desired permanency outcome.

Permanency Options

Citation: Ch. Code Art. 702

The court shall determine the permanent plan for the child that is most appropriate and in the best interests of the child in accordance with the following priorities of placement:

  • Return the child to the legal custody of the parents within a specified time period consistent with the child's age and need for a safe and permanent home
  • Adoption
  • Placement with a legal guardian
  • Placement in the legal custody of a relative who is willing and able to offer a safe, wholesome, and stable home for the child
  • Placement in the least restrictive, most family-like alternative permanent living arrangement, with the following limitations:
    • The department shall document in the child's case plan and its report to the court the compelling reason for recommending this plan over the preceding higher-priority alternatives.
    • This permanent plan option may be considered only if the child is age 16 or older.