Court Hearings


Hearing Timeline


Protective Custody Hearing

When held: within 3 business days of removal

Purpose: To determine if it is necessary for the juvenile to remain out of custody of parent, guardian, or custodian.

  • What are the circumstances that caused removal?
  • What is the risk of harm/neglect if the juvenile is returned?
  • Can the custodian appropriately care for and protect the juvenile?


Neglect Jurisdictional Hearing

When held: no later then 60 days after removal

Purpose: To determine if the allegations in the petition are true

Standard of Proof: Clear and Convincing

*If the allegations in the petition are proven to be true, the juvenile is under the jurisdiction of the court.*

Separate from, but often followed immediately by Dispositional Hearing



Dispositional Hearing

Purpose: To determine, in accordance with best interest of the juvenile:

  1. Who has legal and physical custody of the juvenile
  2. Whether Children's Division is required to engage in reasonable efforts to reunify the juvenile and family and what should be done to do so

When Held: Normally after Jurisdictional Hearing or within 90 days of removal

Scope of Inquiry:

  • What are the circumstances that caused removal?
  • What is the risk of harm/neglect if the juvenile is returned?
  • Can the custodian appropriately care for and protect the juvenile?

If Children's Division is required to make reasonable efforts, Treatment Plans are ordered into effect for all offending parties (i.e. biological, alleged, and legal parents).

If Children's Division is not required to make reasonable efforts, then a Permanency Hearing must be held within 30 days.



Dispositional Review Hearing

Purpose: To monitor the actions of all parties involved with the juvenile's case

When held: Held every 120 days up until A Dispositional Review hearing can be held as often as parties and/or court requests.

Scope of Inquiry:

  • Are parties in compliance with treatment plan?
  • Does said case plan need to be modified?
  • Is there a continuing need for placement?
  • Can an end date be given?


Permanency Hearing

Purpose: To determine, in accordance with best interest of the juvenile:

  1. The permanent plan in effect for the juvenile
  2. Whether Children's Division has made reasonable efforts to finalize a permanent plan for the juvenile
  3. The permanency plan that is most appropriate for the juvenile; and the efforts required of Children's Division to finalize said permanent plan

When Held: Within 12 months of the child's initial placement OR 30 days of a finding of no reasonable efforts (see Dispositional Hearing)

Scope of Inquiry: What permanency plan is best for the juvenile?

Reunification OR One of the following

  • Termination of Parental Rights
  • Guardianship
  • Placement with fit/willing resident
  • A planned, permanent living arrangement

Court must consider all relevant factors, including:

  • Juvenile's interaction with foster parents, parents, siblings, etc.
  • Juvenile's adjustment to home and community
  • Mental & physical health of those involved
  • Needs of the juvenile for a continuing relationship with biological parents if they are fit


Post-Permanency Review Hearing

Purpose: To determine, in accordance with best interest of juvenile:

  1. Whether the permanency plan is the most appropriate option for the juvenile
  2. The efforts required of Children's Division to finalize a permanency plan that is most appropriate for the juvenile

When held: At least annually of the juvenile's initial removal date; best practice is to have a Post-Permanency hearing within:

  • 90 days if the permanency plan is reunification, termination of parental rights, or guardianship
  • 6 months if permanency pan is placement with a fit and willing relative or a planned, permanent living arranged