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2023 California Rules of Court

Rule 5.502. Definitions and use of terms

Definitions (§§ 202(e), 303, 319, 361, 361.5(a)(3), 450, 628.1, 636, 726, 727.3(c)(2), 727.4(d), 4512(j), 4701.6(b), 11400(v), 11400(y), 16501(f)(16); 20 U.S.C. § 1415; 25 U.S.C. § 1903(2))

As used in these rules, unless the context or subject matter otherwise requires:

(1)  "Affinity" means the connection existing between one spouse or domestic partner and the blood or adoptive relatives of the other spouse or domestic partner.

(2)  "At risk of entering foster care" means that conditions within a child's family may require that the child be removed from the custody of a parent or guardian and placed in foster care unless or until those conditions are resolved.

(3)  "CASA" means Court Appointed Special Advocate as defined in rule 5.655.

(4)  "Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) guardian ad litem for a child subject to a juvenile dependency petition" is defined in rule 5.662.

(5)  "Child" means a person under the age of 18 years.

(6)  "Clerk" means the clerk of the juvenile court.

(7)  "Court" means the juvenile court and includes any judicial officer of the juvenile court.

(8)  "Court-ordered services" or "court-ordered treatment program" means child welfare services or services provided by an appropriate agency ordered at a dispositional hearing at which the child is declared a dependent child or ward of the court, and any hearing thereafter, for the purpose of maintaining or reunifying a child with a parent or guardian.

(9)  "Date the child entered foster care" means:

(A)  In dependency, the date on which the court sustained the petition filed under section 300 or 60 days after the "initial removal" of the child as defined below, whichever is earlier; or

(B)  In delinquency, the date 60 days after the date on which the child was initially removed from the home, unless one of the following exceptions applies:

(i)  If the child is detained pending foster care placement and remains detained for more than 60 days, then the "date the child entered foster care" means the date the court declares the child a ward and orders the child placed in foster care under the supervision of the probation officer;

(ii)  If, before the child is placed in foster care, the child is committed to a ranch, camp, school, or other institution pending placement, and remains in that facility for more than 60 days, then the "date the child entered foster care" is the date the child is physically placed in foster care; or

(iii)  If, at the time the wardship petition was filed, the child was a dependent of the juvenile court and in out-of-home placement, then the "date the child entered foster care" is the date defined in (A).

(10)  "De facto parent" means a person who has been found by the court to have assumed, on a day-to-day basis, the role of parent, fulfilling both the child's physical and psychological needs for care and affection, and who has assumed that role for a substantial period.

(11)  "Detained" means any removal of the child from the person or persons legally entitled to the child's physical custody, or any release of the child on home supervision under section 628.1 or 636. A child released or placed on home supervision is not detained for the purposes of federal foster care funding.

(12)  "Domestic partner" means one of two adults who have chosen to share one another's lives in an intimate and committed relationship of mutual caring as described in Family Code section 297.

(13)  "Educational rights holder" means the adult identified or appointed by the court to make educational or developmental-services decisions for a child, nonminor, or nonminor dependent. If the court limits a parent's or guardian's decisionmaking rights and appoints an educational rights holder, the appointed rights holder acts as the child's or youth's parent, spokesperson, decision maker, and "authorized representative" as described in sections 4512(j) and 4701.6(b) in regard to all matters related to educational or developmental-services needs, including those described in sections 319, 361, 726, 4512, 4646-4648, and 4700-4731; Education Code sections 56028(b)(2), 56050, and 56055; Government Code sections 7579.5 and 7579.6; chapter 33 (commencing with section 1400) of title 20 of the United States Code; and part 300 (commencing with section 300.1) of title 34 of the Code of Federal Regulations, unless the court orders otherwise. An appointed educational rights holder is entitled to access to educational and developmental-services records and information to the extent permitted by law, including by sections 4514 and 5328, and to the same extent as a parent, as that term is used in title 20 United States Code section 1232g and defined in title 34 Code of Federal Regulations part 99.3.

(14)  "Foster care" means residential care provided in any of the settings described in section 11402.

(15)  "Foster parent" includes a relative with whom the child is placed.

(16)  "General jurisdiction" means the jurisdiction the juvenile court maintains over a nonminor under section 303(b) at the time of the dismissal of dependency jurisdiction, delinquency jurisdiction, or transition jurisdiction for the purpose of considering a request to resume its dependency jurisdiction or to assume or resume its transition jurisdiction over the person as a nonminor dependent.

(17)  "Guardian" means legal guardian of the child.

(18)  "Hearing" means a noticed proceeding with findings and orders that are made on a case-by-case basis, heard by either of the following:

(A)  A judicial officer, in a courtroom, in which the proceedings are recorded by a court reporter; or

(B)  An administrative panel, provided that the hearing meets the conditions described in section 366.3(d) and (e) for dependents and section 727.4(d)(7)(B) for delinquents.

(19)  "Indian child" means any unmarried person under 18 years of age who is either (a) a member of an Indian tribe or (b) eligible for membership in an Indian tribe and is the biological child of a member of an Indian tribe. In a court proceeding defined in section 224.1(d), the term also means a youth who satisfies the conditions in either (a) or (b), above, is 18 years of age but not yet 21 years of age, and remains under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court, unless that youth, directly or through his or her attorney, chooses not to be considered an Indian child for purposes of the proceeding.

(20)  "Indian child's tribe" means (a) the Indian tribe of which the Indian child is a member or is eligible for membership, or (b), if an Indian child is a member of, or eligible for membership in, more than one tribe, the Indian tribe with which the Indian child has the more significant contacts, as determined under section 224.1(e).

(21)  "Initial removal" means the date on which the child, who is the subject of a petition filed under section 300 or 600, was taken into custody by the social worker or a peace officer, or was deemed to have been taken into custody under section 309(b) or 628(c), if removal results in the filing of the petition before the court.

(22)  "Member of the household," for purposes of section 300 proceedings, means any person continually or frequently found in the same household as the child.

(23)  "Modification of parental rights" means a modification of parental rights through a tribal customary adoption under Welfare and Institutions Code section 366.24.

(24)  "90-day Transition Plan" means the personalized plan developed at the direction of a child currently in a foster care placement during the 90-day period before the child's planned exit from foster care when she or he attains 18 years of age or, if applicable, developed at the direction of a nonminor during the 90-day period prior to his or her anticipated exit from foster care. A 90-day Transition Plan must also be developed for and at the direction of a former foster child who remains eligible for Independent Living Program services during the 90-day period before he or she attains 18 years of age. The plan is as detailed as the child or nonminor chooses and includes information about a power of attorney for health care and specific options regarding housing, health insurance, education, local opportunities for mentors and continuing support services, workforce supports, and employment services. Inclusion of information in the plan relating to sexual health, services, and resources to ensure the child or nonminor is informed and prepared to make healthy decisions about his or her life is encouraged.

(25)  "Nonminor" means a youth at least 18 years of age and not yet 21 years of age who remains subject to the court's dependency, delinquency, or general jurisdiction under section 303 but is not a "nonminor dependent."

(26)  "Nonminor dependent" means a youth who is a dependent or ward of the court, or a nonminor under the transition jurisdiction of the court, is at least 18 years of age and not yet 21 years of age, and:

(A)  Was under an order of foster care placement on the youth's 18th birthday;

(B)  Is currently in foster care under the placement and care authority of the county welfare department, the county probation department, or an Indian tribe that entered into an agreement under section 10553.1; and

(C)  Is participating in a current Transitional Independent Living Case Plan as defined in this rule.

(27)  "Notice" means a paper to be filed with the court accompanied by proof of service on each party required to be served in the manner prescribed by these rules. If a notice or other paper is required to be given to or served on a party, the notice or service must be given to or made on the party's attorney of record, if any.

(28)  "Notify" means to inform, either orally or in writing.

(29)  "Petitioner," in section 300 proceedings, means the county welfare department; "petitioner," in section 601 and 602 proceedings, means the probation officer or prosecuting attorney.

(30)  "Preadoptive parent" means a licensed foster parent who has been approved to adopt a child by the California State Department of Social Services, when it is acting as an adoption agency, or by a licensed adoption agency, or, in the case of an Indian child for whom tribal customary adoption is the permanent plan, the individual designated by the child's identified Indian tribe as the prospective adoptive parent.

(31)  "Probation officer," in section 300 proceedings, includes a social worker in the county agency responsible for the administration of child welfare.

(32)  "Punishment" means the imposition of sanctions, as defined in section 202(e), on a child declared a ward of the court after a petition under section 602 is sustained. A court order to place a child in foster care must not be used as punishment.

(33)  "Reasonable efforts" or "reasonable services" means those efforts made or services offered or provided by the county welfare agency or probation department to prevent or eliminate the need for removing the child, or to resolve the issues that led to the child's removal in order for the child to be returned home, or to finalize the permanent placement of the child.

(34)  "Relative" means:

(A)  An adult who is related to the child by blood, adoption, or affinity within the fifth degree of kinship. This term includes:

(i)  A parent, sibling, grandparent, aunt, uncle, nephew, niece, great-grandparent, great-aunt or -uncle (grandparents' sibling), first cousin, great-great-grandparent, great-great-aunt or -uncle (great-grandparents' sibling), first cousin once removed (parents' first cousin), and great-great-great-grandparent;

(ii)  A stepparent or stepsibling; and

(iii)  The spouse or domestic partner of any of the persons described in subparagraphs (A)(i) and (ii), even if the marriage or partnership was terminated by death or dissolution; or

(B)  An extended family member as defined by the law or custom of an Indian child's tribe. (25 U.S.C. § 1903(2).)

(35)  "Removal" means a court order that takes away the care, custody, and control of a dependent child or ward from the child's parent or guardian, and places the care, custody, and control of the child with the court, under the supervision of the agency responsible for the administration of child welfare or the county probation department.

(36)  "Section" means a section of the Welfare and Institutions Code unless stated otherwise.

(37)  "Sibling group" means two or more children related to each other by blood, adoption, or affinity through a common legal or biological parent.

(38)  "Social study," in section 300, 601, or 602 proceedings, means any written report provided to the court and all parties and counsel by the social worker or probation officer in any matter involving the custody, status, or welfare of a child in a dependency or wardship proceeding.

(39)  "Social worker," in section 300 proceedings, means an employee of the county child welfare agency and includes a probation officer performing the child welfare duties.

(40)  "Subdivision" means a subdivision of the rule in which the term appears.

(41)  "Transition dependent" means a ward of the court at least 17 years and five months of age but not yet 18 years of age who is subject to the court's transition jurisdiction under section 450.

(42)  "Transition jurisdiction" means the juvenile court's jurisdiction over a child or nonminor described in Welfare and Institutions Code section 450.

(43)  "Transitional independent living case plan" means a child's case plan submitted for the last review hearing held before he or she turns 18 years of age or a nonminor dependent's case plan, developed with the child or nonminor dependent and individuals identified as important to him or her, signed by the child or nonminor dependent and updated every six months, that describes the goals and objectives of how the child or nonminor will make progress in the transition to living independently and assume incremental responsibility for adult decision making; the collaborative efforts between the child or nonminor dependent and the social worker, probation officer, or Indian tribe and the supportive services as described in the Transitional Independent Living Plan (TILP) to ensure the child's or nonminor dependent's active and meaningful participation in one or more of the eligibility criteria described in subdivision (b) of section 11403; the child or nonminor dependent's appropriate supervised placement setting; the child or nonminor dependent's permanent plan for transition to living independently; and the steps the social worker, probation officer, or Indian tribe is taking to ensure the child or nonminor dependent achieves permanence, including maintaining or obtaining permanent connections to caring and committed adults, as set forth in paragraph (16) of subdivision (f) of section 16501.1.

(44)  "Transitional Independent Living Plan" means the written unique, individualized service delivery plan for a child or nonminor mutually agreed upon by the child or nonminor and the social worker or probation officer that identifies the child's or nonminor's current level of functioning, emancipation goals, and the specific skills needed to prepare the child or nonminor to live independently upon leaving foster care.

(45)  "Tribal customary adoption" means adoption by and through the tribal custom, traditions, or law of an Indian child's tribe as defined in Welfare and Institutions Code section 366.24 and to which a juvenile court may give full faith and credit under 366.26(e)(2). Termination of parental rights is not required to effect a tribal customary adoption.

(46)  "Youth" means a person who is at least 14 years of age and not yet 21 years of age.

Rule 5.502 amended effective January 1, 2021; adopted as rule 1401 effective January 1, 1990; previously amended and renumbered as rule 5.502 effective January 1, 2007; previously amended effective July 1, 1992, July 1, 1997, January 1, 1998, January 1, 1999, January 1, 2001, July 1, 2002, January 1, 2003, January 1, 2008, July 1, 2010, January 1, 2011, January 1, 2012, July 1, 2012, January 1, 2014, and January 1, 2016.

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