13.34.268  <<  13.34.270 >>   13.34.300

Child with developmental disabilityOut-of-home placementPermanency planning hearing.

*** CHANGE IN 2019 *** (SEE 5955-S.SL) ***
(1) Whenever the department places a child with a developmental disability in out-of-home care pursuant to RCW 74.13.350, the department shall obtain a judicial determination within one hundred eighty days of the placement that continued placement is in the best interests of the child. If the child's out-of-home placement ends before one hundred eighty days have elapsed, no judicial determination is required.
(2) To obtain the judicial determination, the department shall file a petition alleging that there is located or residing within the county a child who has a developmental disability and that the child has been placed in out-of-home care pursuant to RCW 74.13.350. The petition shall request that the court review the child's placement, make a determination whether continued placement is in the best interests of the child, and take other necessary action as provided in this section. The petition shall contain the name, date of birth, and residence of the child and the names and residences of the child's parent or legal guardian who has agreed to the child's placement in out-of-home care. Reasonable attempts shall be made by the department to ascertain and set forth in the petition the identity, location, and custodial status of any parent who is not a party to the placement agreement and why that parent cannot assume custody of the child.
(3) Upon filing of the petition, the clerk of the court shall schedule the petition for a hearing to be held no later than fourteen calendar days after the petition has been filed. The department shall provide notification of the time, date, and purpose of the hearing to the parent or legal guardian who has agreed to the child's placement in out-of-home care. The department shall also make reasonable attempts to notify any parent who is not a party to the placement agreement, if the parent's identity and location is known. Notification under this section may be given by the most expedient means, including but not limited to, mail, personal service, and telephone.
(4) The court shall appoint a guardian ad litem for the child as provided in RCW 13.34.100, unless the court for good cause finds the appointment unnecessary.
(5) Permanency planning hearings shall be held as provided in this section. At the hearing, the court shall review whether the child's best interests are served by continued out-of-home placement and determine the future legal status of the child.
(a) For children age ten and under, a permanency planning hearing shall be held in all cases where the child has remained in out-of-home care for at least nine months and an adoption decree or guardianship order under chapter 11.88 RCW has not previously been entered. The hearing shall take place no later than twelve months following commencement of the child's current placement episode.
(b) For children over age ten, a permanency planning hearing shall be held in all cases where the child has remained in out-of-home care for at least fifteen months and an adoption decree or guardianship order under chapter 11.88 RCW has not previously been entered. The hearing shall take place no later than eighteen months following commencement of the current placement episode.
(c) No later than ten working days before the permanency planning hearing, the department shall submit a written permanency plan to the court and shall mail a copy of the plan to all parties. The plan shall be directed toward securing a safe, stable, and permanent home for the child as soon as possible. The plan shall identify one of the following outcomes as the primary goal and may also identify additional outcomes as alternative goals: Return of the child to the home of the child's parent or legal guardian; adoption; guardianship; or long-term out-of-home care, until the child is age eighteen, with a written agreement between the parties and the child's care provider.
(d) If a goal of long-term out-of-home care has been achieved before the permanency planning hearing, the court shall review the child's status to determine whether the placement and the plan for the child's care remains appropriate. In cases where the primary permanency planning goal has not been achieved, the court shall inquire regarding the reasons why the primary goal has not been achieved and determine what needs to be done to make it possible to achieve the primary goal.
(e) Following the first permanency planning hearing, the court shall hold a further permanency planning hearing in accordance with this section at least once every twelve months until a permanency planning goal is achieved or the voluntary placement agreement is terminated.
(6) Any party to the voluntary placement agreement may terminate the agreement at any time. Upon termination of the agreement, the child shall be returned to the care of the child's parent or legal guardian, unless the child has been taken into custody pursuant to RCW 13.34.050 or 26.44.050, placed in shelter care pursuant to RCW 13.34.060, or placed in foster care pursuant to RCW 13.34.130. The department shall notify the court upon termination of the voluntary placement agreement and return of the child to the care of the child's parent or legal guardian. Whenever a voluntary placement agreement is terminated, an action under this section shall be dismissed.
(7) When state or federal funds are expended for the care and maintenance of a child with a developmental disability, placed in care as a result of an action under this chapter, the department shall refer the case to the division of child support, unless the department finds that there is good cause not to pursue collection of child support against the parent or parents of the child.
(8) This section does not prevent the department from filing a dependency petition if there is reason to believe that the child is a dependent child as defined in RCW 13.34.030. An action filed under this section shall be dismissed upon the filing of a dependency petition regarding a child who is the subject of the action under this section.

NOTES:

Effective date2004 c 183: See note following RCW 13.34.160.
Application1997 c 386: See note following RCW 13.50.010.
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