Court Hearings for the Permanent Placement of Children - Wyoming

Date:

Schedule of Hearings

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 14-3-431

The court shall conduct a review hearing 6 months from the date of the child's removal from the home and every 6 months thereafter.

A permanency hearing shall be held as follows:

  • No later than 12 months after the child's removal from home, and every 12 months thereafter
  • Within 30 days after a finding that reasonable efforts are not required

Persons Entitled to Attend Hearings

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 14-3-402; 14-3-424

Notice of a hearing shall be provided to the following:

  • All parties to the proceeding, including the following:
    • The child
    • The child's parents
    • The child's guardian or custodian
    • The State of Wyoming
    • Any other person made a party by the juvenile court
  • Counsel for the parties

Determinations Made at Hearings

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 14-3-431

At the 6-month review hearing the court shall review the case plan to determine the following:

  • The health and safety of the child
  • The continuing necessity for the placement
  • The appropriateness of the current placement
  • The reasonableness of efforts made to reunify the family and the consistency of those efforts with the case plan
  • The appropriateness of the case plan and the extent of compliance with the case plan
  • Whether progress has been made toward alleviating or mitigating the causes necessitating placement outside the home and the extent of that progress
  • The date the child is expected to be returned to the home or placed for adoption or legal guardianship

At the permanency hearing, the Department of Family Services shall present to the court the following:

  • Efforts made to do the following:
    • Effectuate the permanency plan for the child, address the options for the child's permanent placement; examine the reasons for excluding other permanency options; and set forth the proposed plan to carry out the placement decision, including specific times for achieving the permanency plan
    • Ensure the child be provided, to the greatest extent possible, the opportunity to participate in age appropriate or developmentally appropriate activities and experiences
  • If the permanency goal is classified as another planned permanent living arrangement, present the following:
    • A compelling reason for establishing another planned permanent living arrangement
    • Documentation of the ongoing and unsuccessful efforts to return the child home, place the child for adoption or with a legal guardian or a fit and willing relative for purposes of guardianship or adoption, including evidence of efforts to use social media or other search technology to find birth family members for the child

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

  • Determine whether the permanency plan is in the best interests of the child and whether the department has made reasonable efforts to finalize the plan
  • Order the department to take any additional steps necessary to effectuate the terms of the permanency plan
  • Ask the child about his or her desired permanency outcome, if it is determined that the child should be present at the hearing
  • Ask the child's guardian ad litem or other legal representative about the child's desired permanency outcome, if it is determined inappropriate for the child to be present at the hearing
  • If the permanency goal is another planned permanent living arrangement, do the following:
    • Make a judicial determination why another planned permanent living arrangement is the best permanency plan for the child
    • Provide reasons why it continues not to be in the best interests of the child to return home, be placed for adoption, or be placed with a legal guardian or a fit and willing relative for purposes of guardianship or adoption
    • Require that the child be provided, to the greatest extent possible, the opportunity to participate in age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate activities and experiences

Permanency Options

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 14-3-431

Permanency options include the following:

  • Reunification with the parent
  • Adoption
  • Legal guardianship

The department shall provide the court with a compelling reason for establishing a permanency plan other than reunification, adoption, or legal guardianship.