Court Hearings for the Permanent Placement of Children - Wisconsin

Date:

Schedule of Hearings

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 48.38

The court or a review panel shall review the permanency plan no later than 6 months after the child's removal from home and every 6 months thereafter as long as the child remains placed outside the home.

The court shall hold a permanency hearing no later than 12 months after the child's removal from home and every 12 months thereafter.

If the court finds that reasonable efforts to reunify the child with his or her parent are not required, the court shall hold a hearing within 30 days after the date of that finding to determine the permanency plan for the child.

Persons Entitled to Attend Hearings

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 48.38(5)(b), (bm)

Notice of the permanency hearing shall be provided to the following:

  • The child
  • The child's parent, guardian, and legal custodian
  • The foster parent, the operator of the facility, or the relative with whom the child is living
  • If the child is an Indian child, the child's Indian custodian and Tribe
  • The person representing the interests of the public
  • The child's counsel, guardian ad litem, court-appointed special advocate, and school

A child, parent, guardian, custodian, foster parent, operator of a facility, or relative who is provided notice shall have a right to be heard at the review by submitting written comments no less than 10 working days before the date of the review or by participating at the review. A person representing the interests of the public and the child's counsel, guardian ad litem, court-appointed special advocate, or school may have an opportunity to be heard at the review by submitting written comments no less than 10 days before the review. A foster parent, operator of a facility, or relative who receives notice and a right to be heard does not become a party to the proceeding solely on the basis of receiving that notice.

If the child's age and developmental level are sufficient for the court to consult with the child regarding the child's permanency plan, the court shall consult with the child, in an age-appropriate and developmentally appropriate manner, regarding the child's permanency plan and any other matters the court finds appropriate. If consulting with the child is not possible or appropriate, the court may permit the child's caseworker, counsel, or guardian ad litem to make a statement during the review expressing the child's wishes, goals, and concerns. If the court permits a statement to be made, the court may nonetheless require the child to be physically present at the review.

Determinations Made at Hearings

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 48.38

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

  • The continuing necessity and the safety and appropriateness of the placement
  • The extent of compliance with the permanency plan by the agency and any other service providers, the child's parents, the child, and the child's guardian, if any
  • The extent of efforts to meet the needs of the child and his or her parents
  • Progress toward eliminating the causes for the child's placement outside of the home and toward returning the child safely home or obtaining a permanent placement for the child
  • Whether reasonable efforts were made by the agency to achieve the goal of the permanency plan
  • The appropriateness of the permanency goal
  • The appropriateness of the permanency plan and the circumstances that prevent the child from achieving the permanency goal
  • The date by which it is likely that the child will be returned home or placed for adoption, with a guardian, or in an alternative permanent placement
  • If the child has one or more siblings who have also been removed from the home, whether reasonable efforts were made by the agency to place the child in a placement that enables the sibling group to remain together or to provide for frequent visitation or other ongoing interaction between the child and those siblings
  • If the child is an Indian child who is placed outside the home of his or her parent or Indian custodian, whether active efforts were made to prevent the breakup of the Indian child's family, whether those efforts have proved unsuccessful, and whether the Indian child's placement is in compliance with the placement preferences required by § 48.028
  • If the child is subject to an order that terminates his or her placement or a voluntary transition-to-independent-living agreement, the appropriateness of the transition-to-independent-living plan developed under § 48.385; the extent of compliance with that plan by the child, the child's guardian, if any, the agency primarily responsible for providing services under that plan, and any other service providers; and the progress of the child toward making the transition to a successful adulthood

If the permanency goal of the child's permanency plan is placement of the child in a planned permanent living arrangement, the agency that prepared the permanency plan shall present to the court specific information showing that intensive and ongoing efforts were made by the agency, including searching social media, to return the child to the child's home or to place the child for adoption, with a guardian, or with a fit and willing relative, and that those efforts have proved unsuccessful. The plan shall include specific information showing the steps taken by the agency, including consultation with the child, to ascertain whether the child has regular, ongoing opportunities to engage in age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate activities and to ensure that the child's caregiver is applying the reasonable and prudent parent standard to decisions concerning the child's participation in those activities. In addition, at the hearing the court shall consult with the child about the permanency outcome desired by the child.

Permanency Options

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 48.38

The goal of the permanency plan shall be one of the following:

  • Return of the child to the child's home
  • Placement of the child for adoption
  • Placement of the child with a guardian
  • Permanent placement of the child with a fit and willing relative.
  • In the case of a child age 16 or older, placement of the child in some other planned permanent living arrangement that includes an appropriate, enduring relationship with an adult