2006 Code of Virginia § 16.1-282 - Foster care review

16.1-282. Foster care review.

A. In the case of a child who was the subject of a foster care plan filedwith the court pursuant to 16.1-281, a foster care review hearing shall beheld within six months of the dispositional hearing at which the foster careplan pursuant to 16.1-281 was reviewed if the child: (a) was placed throughan agreement between the parents or guardians and the local board of socialservices or a public agency designated by the community policy and managementteam where legal custody remains with the parents or guardians and suchagreement has not been dissolved by court order; or (b) is under the legalcustody of a local board of social services or a child welfare agency and hasnot had a petition to terminate parental rights granted, filed or ordered tobe filed on the child's behalf; has not been placed in permanent foster care;or is not receiving services to achieve independent living status.

Any interested party, including the parent, guardian or person who stood inloco parentis prior to the board's or public agency's placement of the childor the board's or child welfare agency's assumption of legal custody, mayfile with the court the petition for a foster care review hearing hereinafterdescribed at any time after the initial foster care placement of the child.However, the board, public agency or child welfare agency shall file thepetition within five months of the dispositional hearing at which the fostercare plan was reviewed pursuant to 16.1-281.

B. The petition shall:

1. Be filed in the court in which the foster care plan for the child wasreviewed and approved. Upon the order of such court, however, the petitionmay be filed in the court of the county or city in which the board or childwelfare agency having legal custody or having placed the child has itsprincipal office or where the child resides;

2. State, if such is reasonably obtainable, the current address of thechild's parents and, if the child was in the custody of a person or personsstanding in loco parentis at the time the board or child welfare agencyobtained legal custody or the board or public agency placed the child, ofsuch person or persons;

3. Describe the placement or placements provided for the child while infoster care and the services or programs offered to the child and his parentsand, if applicable, the persons previously standing in loco parentis;

4. Describe the nature and frequency of the contacts between the child andhis parents and, if applicable, the persons previously standing in locoparentis;

5. Set forth in detail the manner in which the foster care plan previouslyfiled with the court was or was not complied with and the extent to which thegoals thereof have been met; and

6. Set forth the disposition sought and the grounds therefor; however, if acontinuation of foster care is recommended, a foster care plan for suchperiod of continued foster care shall also be included and shall address (i)the role the current foster parents or other care providers will play in thefuture planning for the child and (ii) in the case of a child who hasattained age sixteen, the services and programs needed to assist the child tomake a transition from foster care to independent living.

C. Upon receipt of the petition filed by the board, public agency, childwelfare agency, or any interested party as provided in subsection B of thissection, the court shall schedule a hearing to be held within thirty days ifa hearing was not previously scheduled. The court shall provide notice of thehearing and a copy of the petition to the following, each of whom shall be aparty entitled to participate in the proceeding:

1. The child, if he is twelve years of age or older;

2. The attorney-at-law representing the child as guardian ad litem;

3. The child's parents and, if the child was in the custody of a personstanding in loco parentis at the time the department obtained custody, suchperson or persons. No such notification shall be required, however, if thejudge certifies on the record that the identity of the parent or guardian isnot reasonably ascertainable. An affidavit of the mother that the identity ofthe father is not reasonably ascertainable shall be sufficient evidence ofthis fact, provided there is no other evidence before the court which wouldrefute such an affidavit. If the parent or guardian of the child did notappear at the dispositional hearing and was not noticed to return for thefoster care review hearing in accordance with subsection E of 16.1-281, theparent or guardian shall be summoned to appear at the foster care reviewhearing in accordance with 16.1-263. The review hearing shall be heldpursuant to this section although a parent or guardian fails to appear and isnot represented by counsel, provided personal or substituted service was madeon the parent or guardian, or the court determines that such person cannot befound, after reasonable effort, or in the case of a person who is without theCommonwealth, the person cannot be found or his post office address cannot beascertained after reasonable effort;

4. The foster parent or foster parents or other care providers of the child;

5. The petitioning board, public agency or child welfare agency; and

6. Such other persons as the court, in its discretion, may direct. The localboard of social services or other child welfare agency shall identify for thecourt such other persons as have a legitimate interest in the hearing,including, but not limited to, preadoptive parents for a child in foster care.

D. At the conclusion of the hearing, the court shall, upon the proof adducedin accordance with the best interests of the child and subject to theprovisions of subsection D1, enter any appropriate order of dispositionconsistent with the dispositional alternatives available to the court at thetime of the original hearing. The court order shall state whether reasonableefforts, if applicable, have been made to reunite the child with his parents,guardian or other person standing in loco parentis to the child. Any orderentered at the conclusion of this hearing that has the effect of achieving apermanent goal for the child by terminating residual parental rights pursuantto 16.1-277.01, 16.1-277.02, 16.1-278.3 or 16.1-283; by placing thechild in permanent foster care pursuant to subdivision A iv of 16.1-282.1;or by directing the board or agency to provide the child with services toachieve independent living status, if the child has attained the age ofsixteen years, pursuant to subdivision A v of 16.1-282.1 shall statewhether reasonable efforts have been made to place the child in a timelymanner in accordance with the foster care plan and to complete the stepsnecessary to finalize the permanent placement of the child.

D1. Any order transferring custody of the child to a relative other than thechild's prior family shall be entered only upon a finding, based upon apreponderance of the evidence, that the relative is one who, after aninvestigation as directed by the court, (i) is found by the court to bewilling and qualified to receive and care for the child; (ii) is willing tohave a positive, continuous relationship with the child; (iii) is committedto providing a permanent, suitable home for the child; and (iv) is willingand has the ability to protect the child from abuse and neglect; and theorder shall so state. The court's order transferring custody to a relativeshould further provide for, as appropriate, any terms and conditions whichwould promote the child's interest and welfare; ongoing provision of socialservices to the child and the child's custodian; and court review of thechild's placement.

E. The court shall possess continuing jurisdiction over cases reviewed underthis section for so long as a child remains in a foster care placement or,when a child is returned to his prior family subject to conditions imposed bythe court, for so long as such conditions are effective. After the hearingrequired pursuant to subsection C, the court shall schedule a permanencyplanning hearing on the case to be held five months thereafter in accordancewith 16.1-282.1 or within thirty days upon the petition of any partyentitled to notice in proceedings under this section when the judgedetermines there is good cause shown for such a hearing. However, in the caseof a child who is the subject of an order that has the effect of achieving apermanent goal for the child by terminating residual parental rights pursuantto 16.1-277.01, 16.1-277.02, 16.1-278.3 or 16.1-283; by placing thechild in permanent foster care pursuant to subdivision A iv of 16.1-282.1;or by directing the board or agency to provide the child with services toachieve independent living status, if the child has attained the age ofsixteen years, pursuant to subdivision A v of 16.1-282.1, a permanencyplanning hearing within five months shall not be required and the court shallschedule a foster care review hearing to be held within twelve months of theentry of such order in accordance with the provisions of 16.1-282.2.

(1977, c. 559; 1978, c. 740; 1982, c. 171; 1984, c. 71; 1987, c. 250; 1991,c. 98; 1992, c. 869; 1994, cc. 223, 604, 865; 1997, c. 790; 1998, c. 550;1999, c. 889; 2000, c. 385; 2002, c. 512.)

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