Court Hearings for the Permanent Placement of Children - New York

Date:

Schedule of Hearings

Citation: Fam. Crt. Act § 1089

Effective April 21, 2020: For a child in foster care, the following hearings are required:

  • The initial permanency hearing shall be commenced no later than 6 months from 60 days after the child was removed from his or her home.
  • Subsequent permanency hearings for a child who remains in foster care shall be commenced no later than 6 months from the completion of the previous permanency hearing.

After a child has been freed for adoption, permanency hearings shall be held as follows:

  • No later than 30 days after the hearing at which the child was freed
  • No later than 6 months from the completion of the previous permanency hearing

For a former foster youth who has returned to foster care, a permanency hearing shall be held no later than 30 days after the youth has returned to foster care.

Persons Entitled to Attend Hearings

Citation: Fam. Crt. Act § 1089

Effective April 21, 2020: Notice of permanency hearings shall be provided to the following:

  • The child's parent, including any nonrespondent parent, unless the parent's rights have been terminated
  • The foster parent in whose home the child currently resides
  • Any other person legally responsible for the child's care
  • The agency supervising the care of the child
  • The child's attorney and the attorney for the respondent parent
  • The child if he or she is age 10 or older
  • Any preadoptive parent or relative providing care for the child
  • A former foster parent, if any, in whose home the child previously had resided for a continuous period of 12 months in foster care

The child's parent, person legally responsible for the child's care, and the current foster parent shall be parties to the proceeding. A preadoptive parent, relative, or former foster parent, on the basis of such notice, shall have an opportunity to be heard but shall not be a party to the permanency hearing.

Determinations Made at Hearings

Citation: Fam. Crt. Act § 1089

Effective April 21, 2020: The court shall review the permanency hearing report that shall include, but need not be limited to, up-to-date and accurate information regarding the following:

  • The child's current permanency goal
  • The health, well-being, and status of the child since the last hearing
  • The child's current placement
  • The educational and other progress the child has made since the last hearing
  • The visitation plan for the child
  • For a child who is age 16 who elects not to participate in an educational program leading to a high school diploma, the steps that the local social services district has taken to assist the child to become gainfully employed or enrolled in a vocational program
  • For a child who is age 14 or older, the services and assistance that are being provided to enable the child to learn independent living skills
  • Any other services being provided to the child
  • The status of the parent, including the following:
    • The services that have been offered to the parent to enable the child to return home safely
    • The steps the parent has taken to use the services
    • Any barriers encountered to the delivery of such services
    • The progress the parent has made toward reunification, if applicable
    • Any other steps the parent has taken to comply with and achieve the permanency plan
  • The reasonable efforts to achieve the child's permanency plan that have been taken by the local social services district or agency since the last hearing
  • The recommended permanency plan

The permanency hearing shall include an age-appropriate consultation with the child. If the child is age 16 or older and the permanency plan for the child is placement in another planned permanent living arrangement, the court must ask the child about his or her desired permanency outcome.

At the conclusion of each permanency hearing, the court shall issue its findings, and enter an order regarding the following:

  • Whether the placement of the child should be terminated and the child returned to the parent
  • When the child is not returned to the parent, whether the permanency goal for the child should be approved or modified and the anticipated date for achieving the goal
  • Whether reasonable efforts have been made to effectuate the child's permanency plan
  • When return home of the child is not likely, what efforts should be made to evaluate or plan for another permanent plan, including consideration of appropriate in-State and out-of-State placements
  • The steps that must be taken by the local social services official or agency to implement the educational and vocational program components of the permanency hearing report and any modifications that should be made to the plan

When placement of the child is extended, the court order also shall include the following:

  • A description of the visitation plan or plans
  • When the child is not freed for adoption, the following directions:
    • That the child's parent or parents, including any nonrespondent parent, shall be notified of any planning conferences and notification of their right to attend such conferences
    • That the parent keep the local social services agency apprised of his or her current whereabouts and a current mailing address
    • That if the child remains in foster care for 15 of the most recent 22 months, the local social services agency may be required by law to file a petition to terminate parental rights
  • When a child has been placed outside of this State, whether the out-of-State placement continues to be appropriate, necessary, and in the best interests of the child
  • When a child has or, before the next permanency hearing, will reach age 14, the services and assistance necessary to assist the child in learning independent living skills to assist the child to make the transition from foster care to successful adulthood
    • Return to the parent or parents
    • Placement for adoption with the local social services official filing a petition for termination of parental rights
    • Referral for legal guardianship
    • Permanent placement with a fit and willing relative
    • If the child is age 16 or older, placement in another planned permanent living arrangement that includes a significant connection to an adult who is willing to be a permanency resource for the child, with documentation of the following:
      • Intensive, ongoing, and unsuccessful efforts to return the child home or secure a permanent placement for the child, including efforts through search technology, including social media, to find the child's birth family members
      • The steps being taken to ensure that the child's foster family home is following the reasonable and prudent parent standard, and the child has regular, ongoing opportunities to engage in age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate activities
      • The compelling reasons for determining that it continues to not be in the best interests of the child to be returned home, placed for adoption, placed with a legal guardian, or placed with a fit and willing relative