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8-862 Permanency hearing

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The state bar of arizona
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A. The court shall hold a permanency hearing to determine the future permanent legal status of the child:

1. Within thirty days after the disposition hearing if the court does not order reunification services.

2. Within six months after a child who is under three years of age is removed from the child’s home. The court shall not continue that permanency hearing beyond six months after the child who is under three years of age is removed from the child’s home unless the party who is seeking the continuance shows that the determination prescribed in section 8-829, subsection A, paragraph 6 has been made or will be made within the time prescribed in that paragraph.

3. In all other cases, within twelve months after the child is removed from the child’s home. The court shall not continue the permanency hearing beyond twelve months after the child is removed from the child’s home unless the party who is seeking the continuance shows that the determination prescribed in section 8-829, subsection A, paragraph 5 has been made or will be made within the time prescribed in that paragraph.

B. At the permanency hearing, the court shall determine:

1. Whether termination of parental rights, adoption, permanent guardianship pursuant to section 8-872 or some other permanent legal status is the most appropriate plan for the child and shall order the plan to be accomplished within a specified period of time.

2. Whether reasonable efforts have been made to finalize the permanency plan in effect.

3. What efforts have been made in the permanency plan to place the child with the child’s siblings or to provide frequent visitation or contact, unless the court had already determined that placement with all or any siblings or visitation or contact is not possible or would be contrary to the child’s or a sibling’s safety or well-being.

C. If the court determines that the child should remain in out-of-home placement longer than eighteen months from the date of the permanency order, the court shall conduct a review of the order at least once each year. After reviewing the order, the court may reaffirm the order or direct other disposition of the child.

D. If the court determines that the termination of parental rights is clearly in the best interests of the child, the court shall:

1. Order the department or the child’s attorney or guardian ad litem to file within ten days after the permanency hearing a motion alleging one or more of the grounds prescribed in section 8-533 for termination of parental rights. The party who files the motion has the burden of presenting evidence at the termination hearing to prove the allegations in the motion.

2. Set a date for an initial hearing on the motion for termination of parental rights within thirty days after the permanency hearing. If the termination is contested at the initial hearing, the court shall set a date for the trial on termination of parental rights within ninety days after the permanency hearing.

E. The department shall make reasonable efforts to place the child in a timely manner in accordance with the permanency plan and to complete whatever steps are necessary to finalize the permanent placement of the child.

F. If the court determines that permanent guardianship is clearly in the best interests of the child, the court shall:

1. Order the department or the child’s attorney or guardian ad litem to file within ten days after the permanency hearing a motion alleging the grounds prescribed in section 8-871 for permanent guardianship. The party who files the motion has the burden of presenting evidence at the hearing to prove the allegations in the motion.

2. Set a date for an initial hearing on the motion for permanent guardianship within thirty days after the permanency hearing. If the permanent guardianship is contested at the initial hearing, the court shall set a date for the trial on the permanent guardianship within ninety days after the permanency hearing.

G. Evidence considered by the court in making a decision pursuant to this section also shall include any substantiated allegations of abuse or neglect committed in another jurisdiction.

H. If the court determines that termination of parental rights or permanent guardianship is clearly in the best interest of the child and the child has been placed in a prospective permanent placement, unless the action is required by federal law, state law or regulation, any action that is inconsistent with the case plan of severance and adoption, including removal of the child from that placement, may occur only by court order or if the prospective permanent placement requests the child’s removal. If a motion to change the case plan or for removal of a child is filed, a copy of the motion must be provided to the prospective permanent placement at least fifteen days before a hearing on the motion. If the prospective permanent placement does not appear at a hearing on a motion for removal, the court may not take any action on the motion unless the court finds that good faith efforts were made to provide a copy of the motion to the prospective permanent placement. The prospective permanent placement has the right to be heard in the proceeding. This right does not require that the prospective permanent placement be made a party to the proceeding solely on the basis of that right. This subsection does not apply to any removal pursuant to section 8-456 or 8-821. If the child is an Indian child as defined pursuant to the Indian child welfare act (25 United States Code section 1903), the court and the parties must comply with all applicable requirements of that act. For the purposes of this subsection, a prospective permanent placement includes:

1. A grandparent or another member of the child’s extended family including a person who has a significant relationship with the child.

2. A person or persons with an expressed interest in being the permanent placement for the child in a certified adoptive home where the child resides, a home that is a permanent placement for a sibling of the child or a licensed family foster home where the child resides.

I. This section does not prevent the department from presenting for the court’s consideration a grandparent or another member of the child’s extended family including a person who has a significant relationship with the child and who has not been identified as a prospective permanent placement for the child before the child’s placement with a prospective permanent placement.

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