Court Hearings for the Permanent Placement of Children - New Hampshire

Date:

Schedule of Hearings

Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 169-C:24; 169-C:24-b; 169-C:24-c

The court shall conduct an initial review hearing within 3 months of the dispositional hearing to review the status of all dispositional orders issued under this chapter. The court may conduct additional review hearings upon its own motion or upon the request of any party at any time.

For a child that has been in an out-of-home placement for 12 or more months, the court shall hold and complete a permanency hearing within 12 months of the finding. For a child who enters an out-of-home placement subsequent to a finding, the court shall hold and complete a permanency hearing within 12 months of the date the child enters the out-of-home placement.

For a child who is in an out-of-home placement following the permanency hearing, the court shall hold and complete a postpermanency hearing within 12 months of the permanency hearing and every 12 months thereafter as long as the child remains in an out-of-home placement. The court may conduct periodic postpermanency hearings upon its motion or upon the request of any party at any time.

Persons Entitled to Attend Hearings

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 169-C:14

The general public shall be excluded from any hearing. Only such persons as the parties, their witnesses, counsel, and representatives of the agencies present to perform their official duties shall be admitted. Other persons may be invited to attend, with the court's approval.

Determinations Made at Hearings

Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 169-C:24; 169-C:24-b; 169-C:24-c

At all hearings the court shall determine whether the Department of Health and Human Services has made reasonable efforts to finalize the permanency plan that is in effect. Where reunification is the permanency plan that is in effect, the court shall consider whether services to the family have been accessible, available, and appropriate.

Permanency Options

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 169-C:24-b

At a permanency hearing, the court shall determine whether and, if applicable, when the child will be returned to the parent or parents. If the standard for return is not met, the court shall identify a permanency plan other than reunification for the child. Other options for a permanency plan include the following:

  • Termination of parental rights or parental surrender when an adoption is contemplated
  • Guardianship with a fit and willing relative or another appropriate party
  • Another planned permanent living arrangement