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2024 California Rules of Court

Rule 5.820. Termination of parental rights for child in foster care for 15 of the last 22 months

(a) Requirement (§§ 727.32(a), 16508.1)

Whenever a child has been declared a ward and has been in any foster care placement for 15 of the most recent 22 months, the probation department must follow the procedures described in section 727.31 to terminate the parental rights of the child's parents. The probation department is not required to follow these procedures if it has documented a compelling reason in the probation file, as defined in section 727.3(c), for determining that termination of parental rights would not be in the child's best interest, or if it has not provided the family with reasonable efforts necessary to achieve reunification.

(1)  If the probation department sets a hearing under section 727.31, it must also make efforts to identify an approved family for adoption.

(2)  If the probation department has determined that a compelling reason exists, it must document that reason in the case file. The documentation may be a separate document or may be included in another court document, such as the social study prepared for a permanency planning hearing.

(Subd (a) amended effective January 1, 2007.)

(b) Calculating time in foster care (§ 727.32(d))

The following guidelines must be used to determine if the child has been in foster care for 15 of the most recent 22 months:

(1)  Determine the date the child entered foster care, as defined in rule 5.502(a)(9). In some cases, this will be the date the child entered foster care as a dependent.

(2)  Calculate the total number of months since the date in (1) that the child has spent in foster care. Do not start over if a new petition is filed or for any other reason.

(3)  If the child is in foster care for a portion of a month, calculate the total number of days in foster care during that month. Add one month to the total number of months for every 30 days the child is in foster care.

(4)  Exclude time during which the child was detained in the home of a parent or guardian; the child was living at home on formal or informal probation, at home on a trial home visit, or at home with no probationary status; the child was a runaway or "absent without leave" (AWOL); or the child was out of home in a non-foster care setting, including juvenile hall, a ranch, a camp, a school, a secure youth treatment facility, or any other locked facility.

(5)  Once the total number of months in foster care has been calculated, determine how many of those months occurred within the most recent 22 months. If that number is 15 or more, the requirement in (a) applies.

(6)  If the requirement in (a) has been satisfied once, there is no need to take additional action or provide additional documentation after any subsequent 22-month period.

(Subd (b) amended effective July 1, 2023; previously amended effective January 1, 2006, and January 1, 2007.)

Rule 5.820 amended effective July 1, 2023; adopted as rule 1496.3 effective January 1, 2003; previously amended effective January 1, 2006; previously amended and renumbered as rule 5.820 effective January 1, 2007.

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