Appendix 5581: Requirements for the Court in a Permanency Hearing After the Final Order of Permanent Managing Conservatorship (PMC)
CPS September 2015
The following is a summary of the requirements for the court at a permanency hearing of DFPS permanent managing conservatorship (PMC), based on state and federal law, specifically Texas Family Code §§263.002, 263.503, and 266.007, and 42 U.S.C. § 675 (5)(B) and (C).
Placement and Permanency
The court determines:
• the safety and well-being of the child and whether the child’s needs are being met, including any medical or special needs;
• the continuing necessity and appropriateness of the child’s placement, including an out-of-state placement, and whether the placement continues to be in the child’s best interest;
• the appropriateness of the child’s permanency goals;
• whether DFPS has made reasonable efforts to finalize the permanency plan;
• for a child in DFPS permanent managing conservatorship whose parental rights are terminated, whether DFPS has diligently attempted to place the child for adoption;
• for a child in DFPS permanent managing conservatorship whose parental rights have not been terminated:
• whether it is appropriate to place a child in another permanent placement, including appointment of a relative as managing conservator, or return the child to a parent; and
• whether to order up to six months of services for a parent, if the court makes the necessary findings regarding the child’s placement and the possibility of reunification.
• for a child whose permanency goal is another planned, permanent living arrangement (APPLA), whether APPLA continues to be the best permanency plan for the child and, if so:
• whether DFPS has provided compelling documentation of DFPS’ ongoing efforts to return the child home, place the child for adoption, place the child with a legal guardian, or place the child with a fit and willing relative; and
• why it continues to not be in the best interest of the child to return home, be placed for adoption, be placed with a legal guardian, or be placed with a fit and willing relative.
• for a child age 14 and older, whether needed services are available in the child’s community to assist the child in transitioning from substitute care to successful adulthood;
• whether the department has identified a family or other caring adult who has made a permanent commitment to the child;
• whether the child has had regular, ongoing opportunities to engage in age-appropriate normalcy activities, including activities not listed in the child’s service plan; and
• whether substitute caregivers are following the reasonable and prudent parent standard by, without the department’s prior approval, making decisions similar to those a parent would be entitled to make regarding a child’s participation in age-appropriate normalcy activities.
Special Living Arrangements
For a child placed in institutional care, the court determines whether efforts have been made to find the least restrictive placement consistent with the child’s best interest and special needs.
The court determines:
• whether an educational decision-maker has been identified;
• whether the child’s education needs and goals have been identified and addressed; and
• whether there are major changes in the child’s school performance or there have been serious disciplinary events.
The court determines whether the child is receiving appropriate medical care, and whether the child has had an opportunity, in a developmentally appropriate manner, to express an opinion on such care.
If psychotropic drugs are prescribed, the court determines whether the child has been provided appropriate psychosocial therapies, behavior strategies and other non-pharmacological interventions; and whether the prescribing physician, physician assistant, or advanced practice nurse has seen the child at least once every 90 days for required medication review.
The court also:
• sets the next permanency review hearing for DFPS PMC within six months; and
• continues to set permanency review hearings for DFPS PMC within six months, until the child is adopted or becomes an adult.
Discretionary – Youth Aging Out of Foster Care
Although the court must begin to review a child’s plans for transitioning to a successful adulthood beginning at age 14, the court must consider additional matters for all youth at the final permanency review hearing for DFPS PMC.
If a child is 17 1/2 years old, the court:
• discusses whether the child intends to remain in extended foster care after turning 18 and, if so, schedules the case for a review hearing six months from the date of the final permanency review for DFPS PMC hearing; and
• authorizes (regardless of the child’s plans) that the child begin a trial independence period of 12 months, beginning on the date that the child leaves foster care on or after turning 18 and ending on the last day of the month 12 months from the date the child leaves care.