Court Hearings for the Permanent Placement of Children - New Jersey

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Schedule of Hearings

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 30:4C-58; 30:4C-61.2

A child placement review board shall make an initial review of the placement within 60 days following the placement. A periodic review shall take place every 12 months thereafter. The board shall continue to conduct periodic reviews until the Division of Youth and Family Services terminates its supervision.

A permanency hearing that provides review and approval by the court of the placement plan shall be held as follows:

  • No later than 12 months after placement
  • Within 30 days of a finding that reasonable efforts to reunify are not required

Persons Entitled to Attend Hearings

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 30:4C-61.2

Written notice of the date, time, and place of the permanency hearing shall be provided at least 15 days in advance to the following persons and entities, each of whom shall be entitled to attend the hearing and to submit written information to the court:

  • The division or agency
  • The child
  • The parents, including a noncustodial parent or legal guardian
  • The temporary caregiver
  • Any other person or agency that the court determines has an interest in or information relating to the welfare of the child
  • The counsel for a parent, child, or other interested party who has provided or is providing representation in the case before the court
  • The child's resource family parent or relative providing care for the child

The child's resource family parent or relative providing care shall receive the notice and shall have a right to be heard at the hearing, but he or she shall not be made a party to the hearing solely on the basis of the notice and right to be heard.

Determinations Made at Hearings

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 30:4C-58; 30:4C-61.2

All reviews shall include, but not necessarily be limited to, the consideration of the following:

  • The appropriateness of the goal, objectives of the placement plan, and anticipated date that the goal will be achieved
  • The appropriateness of the services provided to the child and to the temporary caregiver
  • Whether the child has siblings who are also placed outside of their home
  • Whether the wishes of the child were considered regarding placement and development of the placement plan, when appropriate
  • Whether the division, the parents or legal guardian, and the temporary caregiver are fulfilling their respective responsibilities in accordance with the placement plan
  • Whether the parents or legal guardian have been afforded the opportunity and been encouraged to participate in a program of regular visitation with the child
  • Whether there are obstacles that hinder or prevent the attainment of the placement plan objectives and goal
  • The circumstances surrounding the placement
  • The appropriateness of the services provided to the parent or legal guardian
  • The appropriateness of the division's permanency plan and reasonable efforts to achieve that plan

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

  • The goal for the permanent placement or return home of the child and the anticipated date that the goal will be achieved
  • The intermediate objectives relating to attainment of the goal
  • A statement of the duties and responsibilities of the division, the parents or legal guardian, and the temporary caregiver, including the services to be provided by the division to the child and to the temporary caregiver
  • A statement of the services to be provided to the parent or legal guardian

Permanency Options

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 30:4C-61.2

The permanency plan shall include whether and, if applicable, when the following will occur:

  • The child shall be returned to the parent or guardian, if the child can be returned home without endangering his or her health or safety.
  • The division has determined that family reunification is not possible, and the division shall file a petition for the termination of parental rights (TPR) for the purpose of adoption.
  • The division has determined that TPR is not appropriate, and the child shall be placed in an alternative permanent placement.