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2014 California Rules of Court

Rule 5.720. Eighteen-month permanency review hearing

(a) Requirement for 18-month permanency review hearing; setting of hearing; notice (§§ 293, 366.22)

For any dependent child whom the court has removed from the custody of the parent or legal guardian, and who was not returned at the 6- or 12-month review hearing, a permanency review hearing must be held no later than 18 months from the date of the initial removal. Notice of the hearing must be given as provided in section 293 and rule 5.708(b).

(Subd (a) amended effective January 1, 2010; adopted as subd (b)(1); repealed and adopted as subd (a) effective July 1, 1999; previously amended effective January 1, 1992, January 1, 1993, January 1, 1994, January 1, 2001, January 1, 2005, January 1, 2006, and January 1, 2007.)

(b) Determinations and conduct of hearing (§§ 361.5, 366.22)

At the hearing the court and all parties must comply with all relevant requirements and procedures in rule 5.708, General review hearing requirements. The court must make all appropriate findings and orders specified in rule 5.708 and proceed as follows:

(1)The court must order the child returned to the custody of the parent or legal guardian unless the court finds the petitioner has established, by a preponderance of the evidence, that return would create a substantial risk of detriment to the safety, protection, or physical or emotional well-being of the child. Failure of the parent or legal guardian to regularly participate and make substantive progress in a court-ordered treatment program is prima facie evidence that continued supervision is necessary or that return would be detrimental. The requirements in rule 5.708(d) must be followed in establishing detriment. The requirements in rule 5.708(e) must be followed in entering a reasonable services finding.

(2)If the court has previously placed or at this hearing places the child with a noncustodial parent, the court must follow the procedures in rule 5.708(k) and section 361.2.

(3)If the court does not order return of the child to the custody of the parent or legal guardian, the court must specify the factual basis for its finding of risk of detriment and do one of the following:

(A)Continue the case for a subsequent permanency review hearing not later than 24 months from the date of the initial removal if the court finds that there is a substantial probability that the child will be returned within that time or that reasonable services have not been offered or provided. To extend services to the 24-month point, the court must also find by clear and convincing evidence that additional reunification services are in the best interest of the child and that the parent or legal guardian is making significant and consistent progress in a substance abuse treatment program, or a parent is recently discharged from incarceration, institutionalization, or the custody of the United States Department of Homeland Security, and making significant and consistent progress in establishing a safe home for the child's return. The court must also inform the parent or legal guardian that, if the child cannot be returned home by the subsequent permanency review hearing, a hearing under section 366.26 may be instituted.

In order to find a substantial probability that the child will be returned within the 24-month period, the court must find all of the following:

(i)The parent or legal guardian has consistently and regularly contacted and visited the child;

(ii)The parent or legal guardian has made significant and consistent progress in the prior 18 months in resolving the problems that led to the removal of the child; and

(iii)The parent or legal guardian has demonstrated the capacity and ability both to complete the objectives of his or her substance abuse treatment plan as evidenced by reports from a substance abuse provider, as applicable, or to complete a treatment plan postdischarge from incarceration, institutionalization, or detention or following deportation to his or her country of origin or his or her return to the United States, and to provide for the child's safety, protection, physical and emotional health, and special needs.

(B)Terminate reunification services and order that the child remain in a planned permanent living arrangement, if it finds by clear and convincing evidence already presented, including a recommendation by the appropriate state or county adoption agency, that there is a compelling reason for determining that a section 366.26 hearing is not in the best interest of the child because the child is not a proper subject for adoption and has no one willing to accept legal guardianship.

(i)If the court orders that the child remain in a planned permanent living arrangement, it must identify the foster care setting by name and identify a specific permanency goal for the child.

(ii)The court may order that the name and address of the foster home remain confidential.

(iii)The court must continue to permit the parent or legal guardian to visit the child, unless it finds that visitation would be detrimental to the child;

(iv)If the child is 10 years of age or older and is placed in out-of-home placement for six months or longer, the court must enter any other appropriate orders to enable the child to maintain relationships with other individuals who are important to the child, consistent with the child's best interest. Specifically, the court:

a. Must determine whether the agency has identified individuals, in addition to the child's siblings, who are important to the child and will maintain caring, permanent relationships with the child, consistent with the child's best interest;

b. Must determine whether the agency has made reasonable efforts to nurture and maintain the child's relationships with those individuals, consistent with the child's best interest; and

c. May make any appropriate order to ensure that those relationships are maintained.

(C)If (1), (3)(A), or (3)(B) do not apply, the court must terminate reunification services and order a hearing under section 366.26 within 120 days. The court and all parties must comply with all relevant requirements, procedures, and findings and orders related to section 366.26 hearings in rule 5.708.

(4)If the child is not returned to his or her parent or legal guardian, the court must consider and state, for the record, in-state and out-of-state options for permanent placement, including, in the case of an Indian child, whether:

(A)The agency has consulted the child's tribe about tribal customary adoption;

(B)The child's tribe concurs with tribal customary adoption; and

(C)Tribal customary adoption is an appropriate permanent plan for the child.

(Subd (b) amended effective January 1, 2014; repealed and adopted as subd (b); previously amended and relettered as subd (c) effective January 1, 2005, and as subd (b) effective January 1, 2010; previously amended effective July 1, 1991, January 1, 1992, January 1, 1993, January 1, 1995, July 1, 1995, January 1, 1999, July 1, 1999, January 1, 2006, July 1, 2006, January 1, 2007, July 1, 2007, and July 1, 2010.)

Rule 5.720 amended effective January 1, 2014; repealed and adopted as rule 1462 effective January 1, 1990; previously amended and renumbered effective January 1, 2007; previously amended effective July 1, 1991, January 1, 1992, January 1, 1993, January 1, 1994, January 1, 1995, July 1, 1995, July 1, 1997, January 1, 1999, July 1, 1999, January 1, 2001, January 1, 2005, January 1, 2006, July 1, 2006, July 1, 2007, January 1, 2010, and July 1, 2010.

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