Court Hearings for the Permanent Placement of Children - Missouri

Date: February 2020

Schedule of Hearings

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 210.710; 210.720; 211.183

A dispositional hearing to review the status of the child shall be held within 6 months.

A permanency hearing shall be held within 12 months of the initial placement and at least annually thereafter.

If the court determines that reasonable efforts to reunify the child with his or her family are not required, a permanency hearing must be held within 30 days after the determination.

Persons Entitled to Attend Hearings

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 210.710; 210.761

The child and the child's parent, guardian, or relative may be present at the hearing.

Any person who has provided foster care to a child at any time in a 2-year period prior to any hearing concerning the child shall be allowed to testify at such hearing. The court may limit such testimony to evidence the court finds relevant and material.

Determinations Made at Hearings

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 210.710; 210.720

The purpose of the dispositional hearing shall be to determine whether or not the child should remain in foster care; whether the child should be returned to a parent, guardian, or relative; or whether or not proceedings should be instituted to terminate parental rights and legally free the child for adoption.

The permanency hearing shall be for the purpose of determining, in accordance with the best interests of the child, a plan for the permanent placement of the child.

At the permanency hearing, the court shall consider all relevant factors including the following:

  • The interaction and interrelationship of the child with the child's foster parents, parents, siblings, and any other person who may significantly affect the child's best interests
  • The child's adjustment to his or her foster home, school, and community
  • The mental and physical health of all individuals involved, including any history of abuse of any individuals involved
  • The needs of the child for a continuing relationship with the child's parents and the ability and willingness of parents to actively perform their functions as mother and father for the needs of the child

Permanency Options

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 210.710

Placement options for the child include the following:

  • Return to the parent, guardian, or relative
  • Termination of parental rights and placement for adoption
  • Continuation in foster care