Foster Care Proceedings
(a) A periodic progress review hearing shall occur when the court has not established a foster care review board or has elected to review certain cases instead of assigning the cases to the board.
(b) The court shall explain on the record the purpose of the hearing and review the following:
(1) The continued appropriateness of the permanency goals , and if a concurrent goal is needed;
(2) Whether the child’s placement is safe and appropriate;
(3) Whether the child’s well-being is being appropriately addressed through health, education, and independent living skills if applicable;
(4) Whether the visitation schedule continues to be sufficient to maintain the bond between the child and parent, and the child and siblings, who are not residing in the same placement;
(5) The reasonableness of the Department of Children’s Services’efforts to identify or locate the parent or child whose identity or whereabouts are unknown;
(6) The reasonableness of the Department’s efforts based on the prioritization of the outcomes and corresponding action steps in the statement of responsibilities; and
(7) The compliance of the parents or child with the statement of responsibilities in the plan.
(c) If a foster care review board hearing has occurred prior to the periodic progress review, the court shall review the recommendations of the board. If the court finds the board’s recommendations are in the best interest of the child, the court shall incorporate the recommendations into the plan.
(d) If in addition to the periodic progress review the Department requests the court also ratify a new permanency plan, the periodic progress review and ratification hearing on the new plan shall be bifurcated.
(e) At the conclusion of the hearing, the court shall make fact-specific findings including a timeline for goal completion and shall enter an order within 30 days of the hearing. If the court finds additional services are necessary to mitigate the causes necessitating foster care, the court shall order the Department to incorporate the services into the permanency plan.
Advisory Commission Comments.
The periodic progress review (formerly known as judicial review) of the permanency plan is heldpursuant to T.C.A. § 37-2-404. Either a foster care review board or periodic progress review must be held within 90 days of the date of custody and no less often than every 6 months thereafter.
The purpose of this hearing is to ensure that the child is safe, that provisions are being made for the child’s well-being, and that the permanency plan and goals remain in the best interest of the child. The court has a duty to monitor and determine compliance with the terms of the permanency plan by the parties, and issue such orders as may be appropriate to enforce compliance by reviewing those matters outlined in subdivision (b). The periodic progress review is an opportunity for the court to correct potential delays or barriers to permanency for the child prior to the permanency hearing.
A child adjudicated to be delinquent or unruly is a party to the proceeding and should attend the periodic progress review. The Commission notes that there is a distinction between visitation and home passes when reviewing a child adjudicated delinquent or unruly and placed in a residential facility. The child may not be eligible for home passes, but this should not deter visitation between the parent or prior legal guardian and child at the facility.
If the Department is seeking ratification of a new permanency plan at this hearing, the hearings are to be bifurcated as the purpose of the hearings is different. See Rule 401.