Court Hearings for the Permanent Placement of Children - New Mexico

Date: February 2020

Schedule of Hearings

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 32A-4-25; 32A-4-25.1

An initial judicial review shall be conducted within 60 days of the disposition. Subsequent periodic reviews shall be conducted within 6 months of the permanency hearing or, if a motion has been filed for termination of parental rights or permanent guardianship, within 6 months of the decision on that motion and every 6 months thereafter.

A permanency hearing shall be held as follows:

  • Within 6 months of the initial judicial review or within 12 months of a child entering foster care, whichever occurs first
  • Every 12 months while the child remains the custody of the Children, Youth and Families Department
  • Within 30 days of a determination that no reasonable efforts at reunification are required

Persons Entitled to Attend Hearings

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 32A-4-25; 32A-4-25.1

The children's court attorney shall give notice of any judicial review hearing or permanency hearing to the following:

  • All parties, including the following:
    • The child alleged to be neglected or abused or in need of court-ordered services, by and through the child's guardian ad litem or attorney
    • The child's parent, guardian or custodian who has allegedly neglected or abused the child or is in need of court-ordered services
    • Any other person who has been made a party by the court
  • The child's foster parent or substitute care provider
  • The child's court-appointed special advocate
  • If designated by the Substitute Care Advisory Council, a representative of the Substitute Care Review Board

At any subsequent judicial review hearing, the department and all parties who have been given notice shall have the opportunity to present evidence and to cross-examine witnesses.

Determinations Made at Hearings

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 32A-4-25; 3A-4-25.2

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

  • The extent to which the treatment plan has been implemented
  • The extent of compliance with the treatment plan and whether progress is being made toward establishing a stable and permanent placement for the child
  • Whether efforts to maintain contact with the child were diligent and made in good faith
  • For an Indian child, whether the placement preferences of the child's Tribe were followed, and whether the child's treatment plan provides for maintaining the child's cultural ties

The department shall present the child's proposed transition plan to the court at the first hearing scheduled after the child's 17th birthday. The court shall order a transition plan for the child. The transition plan approved by the court shall be reviewed at every subsequent review and permanency hearing.

Permanency Options

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 32A-4-25.1

At the conclusion of the permanency hearing, the court shall order one of the following permanency plans for the child:

  • Reunification
  • Placement for adoption
  • Placement with a permanent guardian
  • Placement in the legal custody of the department with the child placed in the home of a fit and willing relative
  • Placement in the legal custody of the department under a planned permanent living arrangement, provided that there is substantial evidence that none of the above plans is appropriate for the child