Court Hearings for the Permanent Placement of Children - Minnesota

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Schedule of Hearings

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 260C.202; 260C.204

If a child is placed in foster care, the court shall review the placement as follows:

  • At least every 90 days after placement to determine whether continued out-of-home placement is necessary and appropriate or whether the child should be returned home
  • No later than 3 months after the child's placement in foster care

When a child who is age 18 or older remains in or returns to foster care pursuant to § 260C.451, the court shall review the case at least annually.

A permanency progress hearing shall be held no later than 6 months after the child's placement in out-of-home care. Following the review hearing the court may do the following:

  • Order the child's reunification or continue the matter up to 6 additional months
  • Order the responsible social services agency to develop a plan for the transfer of permanent legal and physical custody of the child to a relative and to file a petition within 30 days and hold a trial on the petition within 60 days of the filing of the petition
  • Order the agency to file a petition for termination of parental rights within 30 days of the hearing and hold a trial on the petition within 60 days of the filing of the petition

Persons Entitled to Attend Hearings

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 260C.163, Subd. 2, 8

A child who is the subject of a petition and the parents, guardian, or legal custodian of the child have the right to participate in all proceedings on a petition, including the opportunity to attend all hearings in person. Official Tribal representatives have the right to participate in any proceeding that is subject to the Indian Child Welfare Act.

A parent with a legally recognized parent-child relationship must be provided the right to be heard in any review or hearing held with respect to the child, including the right to be heard on the disposition order, parental visitation, and the out-of-home placement plan. The right to be heard does not automatically confer party status.

Any grandparent of the child has a right to participate in the proceedings to the same extent as a parent, if the child has lived with the grandparent within the 2 years preceding the filing of the petition.

If, in a permanency proceeding involving a child in need of protection or services, any party files a petition for transfer of permanent legal and physical custody to a named relative, the relative has a right to participate in the permanency proceeding as a party on the issues of the relative's suitability to be a legal and physical custodian for the child, whether the transfer is in the child's best interests, and the needs of the child. Thereafter the named relative shall receive notice of any hearing in the proceedings.

The child and the child's parent, guardian, or custodian are entitled to be heard, to present evidence material to the case, and to cross-examine witnesses appearing at the hearing.

Determinations Made at Hearings

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 260C.203; 260C.204

At the foster care hearing, the court shall review the following:

  • The safety, permanency needs, and well-being of the child
  • The continuing necessity for and appropriateness of the placement
  • The extent of compliance with the out-of-home placement plan
  • The extent of progress that has been made toward alleviating or mitigating the causes necessitating placement in foster care
  • The projected date by which the child may be returned to and safely maintained in the home or placed permanently away from the care of the parent
  • The appropriateness of the services provided to the child

When a child is age 14 or older, the court shall review the independent living plan required under § 260C.212 and the provision of services to the child related to the well-being of the child as he or she prepares to leave foster care. The review shall include the actual plans related to each item in the plan necessary to the child's future safety and well-being when the child is no longer in foster care and, consistent with the requirements of the independent living plan, and progress toward or accomplishment of the following goals:

  • The child has obtained a high school diploma or its equivalent.
  • The child has completed a driver's education course or has demonstrated the ability to use public transportation.
  • The child is employed or enrolled in postsecondary education.
  • The child has applied for and obtained postsecondary education financial aid for which the child is eligible.
  • The child has health-care coverage and health-care providers to meet the child's physical and mental health needs.
  • The child has applied for and obtained disability income assistance for which the child is eligible.
  • The child has obtained affordable housing with necessary supports, which does not include a homeless shelter.
  • The child has saved sufficient funds to pay for the first month's rent and a damage deposit.
  • The child has an alternative affordable housing plan, which does not include a homeless shelter, if the original housing plan is unworkable.
  • The child, if male, has registered for the Selective Service.
  • The child has a permanent connection to a caring adult.

At the permanency progress hearing, the court shall review the following:

  • The progress of the case and the parent's progress on the case plan
  • The agency's reasonable, or in the case of an Indian child, active efforts for reunification and its provision of services
  • The agency's reasonable efforts to finalize the permanent plan for the child and to make a placement in a home that will commit to being the legally permanent family for the child in the event the child cannot return home according to the timelines in this section
  • In the case of an Indian child, active efforts to prevent the breakup of the Indian family and to make a placement according to the placement preferences of the Federal Indian Child Welfare Act

Permanency Options

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 260C.513

When a child cannot return home, termination of parental rights and adoption or guardianship to the commissioner of human services through a consent to adopt are preferred permanency options. If the court finds that termination of parental rights and guardianship to the commissioner is not in the child's best interests, the court may transfer permanent legal and physical custody of the child to a relative when that order is in the child's best interests.

When the court has determined that permanent placement of the child away from the parent is necessary, the court shall consider permanent alternative homes that are available both inside and outside the State.