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California Welfare and Institutions Code Section 366.3

366.3. (a) If a juvenile court orders a permanent plan of adoption, tribal customary adoption, adoption of a nonminor dependent pursuant to subdivision (f) of Section 366.31, or legal guardianship pursuant to Section 360 or 366.26, the court shall retain jurisdiction over the child or nonminor dependent until the child or nonminor dependent is adopted or the legal guardianship is established, except as provided for in Section 366.29 or, on and after January 1, 2012, Section 366.32. The status of the child or nonminor dependent shall be reviewed every six months to ensure that the adoption or legal guardianship is completed as expeditiously as possible. When the adoption of the child or nonminor dependent has been granted, or in the case of a tribal customary adoption, when the tribal customary adoption order has been afforded full faith and credit and the petition for adoption has been granted, the court shall terminate its jurisdiction over the child or nonminor dependent. Following establishment of a legal guardianship, the court may continue jurisdiction over the child as a dependent child of the juvenile court or may terminate its dependency jurisdiction and retain jurisdiction over the child as a ward of the legal guardianship, as authorized by Section 366.4. If, however, a relative of the child is appointed the legal guardian of the child and the child has been placed with the relative for at least six months, the court shall, except if the relative guardian objects, or upon a finding of exceptional circumstances, terminate its dependency jurisdiction and retain jurisdiction over the child as a ward of the guardianship, as authorized by Section 366.4. Following a termination of parental rights, the parent or parents shall not be a party to, or receive notice of, any subsequent proceedings regarding the child.

(b) (1) If the court has dismissed dependency jurisdiction following the establishment of a legal guardianship, or no dependency jurisdiction attached because of the granting of a legal guardianship pursuant to Section 360, and the legal guardianship is subsequently revoked or otherwise terminated, the county department of social services or welfare department shall notify the juvenile court of this fact. The court may vacate its previous order dismissing dependency jurisdiction over the child.

(2) Notwithstanding Section 1601 of the Probate Code, the proceedings to terminate a legal guardianship that has been granted pursuant to Section 360 or 366.26 shall be held either in the juvenile court that retains jurisdiction over the guardianship as authorized by Section 366.4 or the juvenile court in the county where the guardian and child currently reside, based on the best interests of the child, unless the termination is due to the emancipation or adoption of the child. The juvenile court having jurisdiction over the guardianship shall receive notice from the court in which the petition is filed within five calendar days of the filing. Prior to the hearing on a petition to terminate legal guardianship pursuant to this subdivision, the court shall order the county department of social services or welfare department having jurisdiction or jointly with the county department where the guardian and child currently reside to prepare a report, for the court s consideration, that shall include an evaluation of whether the child could safely remain in, or be returned to, the legal guardian s home, without terminating the legal guardianship, if services were provided to the child or legal guardian. If applicable, the report shall also identify recommended family maintenance or reunification services to maintain the legal guardianship and set forth a plan for providing those services. If the petition to terminate legal guardianship is granted, either juvenile court may resume dependency jurisdiction over the child, and may order the county department of social services or welfare department to develop a new permanent plan, which shall be presented to the court within 60 days of the termination. If no dependency jurisdiction has attached, the social worker shall make any investigation he or she deems necessary to determine whether the child may be within the jurisdiction of the juvenile court, as provided in Section 328.

(3) Unless the parental rights of the child s parent or parents have been terminated, they shall be notified that the legal guardianship has been revoked or terminated and shall be entitled to participate in the new permanency planning hearing. The court shall try to place the child in another permanent placement. At the hearing, the parents may be considered as custodians but the child shall not be returned to the parent or parents unless they prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that reunification is the best alternative for the child. The court may, if it is in the best interests of the child, order that reunification services again be provided to the parent or parents.

(c) If, following the establishment of a legal guardianship, the county welfare department becomes aware of changed circumstances that indicate adoption or, for an Indian child, tribal customary adoption, may be an appropriate plan for the child, the department shall so notify the court. The court may vacate its previous order dismissing dependency jurisdiction over the child and order that a hearing be held pursuant to Section 366.26 to determine whether adoption or continued legal guardianship is the most appropriate plan for the child. The hearing shall be held no later than 120 days from the date of the order. If the court orders that a hearing shall be held pursuant to Section 366.26, the court shall direct the agency supervising the child and the county adoption agency, or the State Department of Social Services if it is acting as an adoption agency, to prepare an assessment under subdivision (b) of Section 366.22.

(d) If the child or, on and after January 1, 2012, nonminor dependent is in a placement other than the home of a legal guardian and jurisdiction has not been dismissed, the status of the child shall be reviewed at least every six months. The review of the status of a child for whom the court has ordered parental rights terminated and who has been ordered placed for adoption shall be conducted by the court. The review of the status of a child or, on and after January 1, 2012, nonminor dependent for whom the court has not ordered parental rights terminated and who has not been ordered placed for adoption may be conducted by the court or an appropriate local agency. The court shall conduct the review under the following circumstances:

(1) Upon the request of the child s parents or legal guardians.

(2) Upon the request of the child or, on and after January 1, 2012, nonminor dependent.

(3) It has been 12 months since a hearing held pursuant to Section 366.26 or an order that the child remain in foster care pursuant to Section 366.21, 366.22, 366.25, 366.26, or subdivision (h).

(4) It has been 12 months since a review was conducted by the court.

The court shall determine whether or not reasonable efforts to make and finalize a permanent placement for the child have been made.

(e) Except as provided in subdivision (g), at the review held every six months pursuant to subdivision (d), the reviewing body shall inquire about the progress being made to provide a permanent home for the child, shall consider the safety of the child, and shall determine all of the following:

(1) The continuing necessity for, and appropriateness of, the placement.

(2) Identification of individuals other than the child s siblings who are important to a child who is 10 years of age or older and has been in out-of-home placement for six months or longer, and actions necessary to maintain the child s relationship with those individuals, provided that those relationships are in the best interest of the child. The social worker shall ask every child who is 10 years of age or older and who has been in out-of-home placement for six months or longer to identify individuals other than the child s siblings who are important to the child, and may ask any other child to provide that information, as appropriate. The social worker shall make efforts to identify other individuals who are important to the child, consistent with the child s best interests.

(3) The continuing appropriateness and extent of compliance with the permanent plan for the child, including efforts to maintain relationships between a child who is 10 years of age or older and who has been in out-of-home placement for six months or longer and individuals who are important to the child and efforts to identify a prospective adoptive parent or legal guardian, including, but not limited to, child-specific recruitment efforts and listing on an adoption exchange.

(4) The extent of the agency s compliance with the child welfare services case plan in making reasonable efforts either to return the child to the safe home of the parent or to complete whatever steps are necessary to finalize the permanent placement of the child. If the reviewing body determines that a second period of reunification services is in the child s best interests, and that there is a significant likelihood of the child s return to a safe home due to changed circumstances of the parent, pursuant to subdivision (f), the specific reunification services required to effect the child s return to a safe home shall be described.

(5) Whether there should be any limitation on the right of the parent or guardian to make educational decisions or developmental services decisions for the child. That limitation shall be specifically addressed in the court order and may not exceed what is necessary to protect the child. If the court specifically limits the right of the parent or guardian to make educational decisions or developmental services decisions for the child, the court shall at the same time appoint a responsible adult to make educational decisions or developmental services decisions for the child pursuant to Section 361.

(6) The adequacy of services provided to the child. The court shall consider the progress in providing the information and documents to the child, as described in Section 391. The court shall also consider the need for, and progress in providing, the assistance and services described in Section 391.

(7) The extent of progress the parents or legal guardians have made toward alleviating or mitigating the causes necessitating placement in foster care.

(8) The likely date by which the child may be returned to, and safely maintained in, the home, placed for adoption, legal guardianship, placed with a fit and willing relative, or, for an Indian child, in consultation with the child s tribe, placed for tribal customary adoption, or, if the child is 16 years of age or older, and no other permanent plan is appropriate at the time of the hearing, in another planned permanent living arrangement.

(9) Whether the child has any siblings under the court s jurisdiction, and, if any siblings exist, all of the following:

(A) The nature of the relationship between the child and his or her siblings.

(B) The appropriateness of developing or maintaining the sibling relationships pursuant to Section 16002.

(C) If the siblings are not placed together in the same home, why the siblings are not placed together and what efforts are being made to place the siblings together, or why those efforts are not appropriate.

(D) If the siblings are not placed together, all of the following:

(i) The frequency and nature of the visits between the siblings.

(ii) If there are visits between the siblings, whether the visits are supervised or unsupervised. If the visits are supervised, a discussion of the reasons why the visits are supervised, and what needs to be accomplished in order for the visits to be unsupervised.

(iii) If there are visits between the siblings, a description of the location and length of the visits.

(iv) Any plan to increase visitation between the siblings.

(E) The impact of the sibling relationships on the child s placement and planning for legal permanence.

The factors the court may consider as indicators of the nature of the child s sibling relationships include, but are not limited to, whether the siblings were raised together in the same home, whether the siblings have shared significant common experiences or have existing close and strong bonds, whether either sibling expresses a desire to visit or live with his or her sibling, as applicable, and whether ongoing contact is in the child s best emotional interests.

(10) For a child who is 14 years of age or older, and, effective January 1, 2012, for a nonminor dependent, the services needed to assist the child or nonminor dependent to make the transition from foster care to successful adulthood.

The reviewing body shall determine whether or not reasonable efforts to make and finalize a permanent placement for the child have been made.

Each licensed foster family agency shall submit reports for each child in its care, custody, and control to the court concerning the continuing appropriateness and extent of compliance with the child s permanent plan, the extent of compliance with the case plan, and the type and adequacy of services provided to the child.

(f) Unless their parental rights have been permanently terminated, the parent or parents of the child are entitled to receive notice of, and participate in, those hearings. It shall be presumed that continued care is in the best interests of the child, unless the parent or parents prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that further efforts at reunification are the best alternative for the child. In those cases, the court may order that further reunification services to return the child to a safe home environment be provided to the parent or parents up to a period of six months, and family maintenance services, as needed for an additional six months in order to return the child to a safe home environment. On and after January 1, 2012, this subdivision shall not apply to the parents of a nonminor dependent.

(g) At the review conducted by the court and held at least every six months, regarding a child for whom the court has ordered parental rights terminated and who has been ordered placed for adoption, or, for an Indian child for whom parental rights are not being terminated and a tribal customary adoption is being considered, the county welfare department shall prepare and present to the court a report describing the following:

(1) The child s present placement.

(2) The child s current physical, mental, emotional, and educational status.

(3) If the child has not been placed with a prospective adoptive parent or guardian, identification of individuals, other than the child s siblings, who are important to the child and actions necessary to maintain the child s relationship with those individuals, provided that those relationships are in the best interest of the child. The agency shall ask every child who is 10 years of age or older to identify any individuals who are important to him or her, consistent with the child s best interest, and may ask any child who is younger than 10 years of age to provide that information as appropriate. The agency shall make efforts to identify other individuals who are important to the child.

(4) Whether the child has been placed with a prospective adoptive parent or parents.

(5) Whether an adoptive placement agreement has been signed and filed.

(6) If the child has not been placed with a prospective adoptive parent or parents, the efforts made to identify an appropriate prospective adoptive parent or legal guardian, including, but not limited to, child-specific recruitment efforts and listing on an adoption exchange.

(7) Whether the final adoption order should include provisions for postadoptive sibling contact pursuant to Section 366.29.

(8) The progress of the search for an adoptive placement if one has not been identified.

(9) Any impediments to the adoption or the adoptive placement.

(10) The anticipated date by which the child will be adopted or placed in an adoptive home.

(11) The anticipated date by which an adoptive placement agreement will be signed.

(12) Recommendations for court orders that will assist in the placement of the child for adoption or in the finalization of the adoption.

The court shall determine whether or not reasonable efforts to make and finalize a permanent placement for the child have been made.

The court shall make appropriate orders to protect the stability of the child and to facilitate and expedite the permanent placement and adoption of the child.

(h) (1) At the review held pursuant to subdivision (d) for a child in foster care, the court shall consider all permanency planning options for the child including whether the child should be returned to the home of the parent, placed for adoption, or, for an Indian child, in consultation with the child s tribe, placed for tribal customary adoption, or appointed a legal guardian, placed with a fit and willing relative, or, if compelling reasons exist for finding that none of the foregoing options are in the best interest of the child and the child is 16 years of age or older, whether the child should be placed in another planned permanent living arrangement. The court shall order that a hearing be held pursuant to Section 366.26, unless it determines by clear and convincing evidence that there is a compelling reason for determining that a hearing held pursuant to Section 366.26 is not in the best interest of the child because the child is being returned to the home of the parent, the child is not a proper subject for adoption, or no one is willing to accept legal guardianship as of the hearing date. If the county adoption agency, or the department when it is acting as an adoption agency, has determined it is unlikely that the child will be adopted or one of the conditions described in paragraph (1) of subdivision (c) of Section 366.26 applies, that fact shall constitute a compelling reason for purposes of this subdivision. Only upon that determination may the court order that the child remain in foster care, without holding a hearing pursuant to Section 366.26. The court shall make factual findings identifying any barriers to achieving the permanent plan as of the hearing date. On and after January 1, 2012, the nonminor dependent s legal status as an adult is in and of itself a compelling reason not to hold a hearing pursuant to Section 366.26.

(2) When the child is 16 years of age or older and in another planned permanent living arrangement, the court shall do all of the following:

(A) Ask the child about his or her desired permanency outcome.

(B) Make a judicial determination explaining why, as of the hearing date, another planned permanent living arrangement is the best permanency plan for the child.

(C) State for the record the compelling reason or reasons why it continues not to be in the best interest of the child to return home, be placed for adoption, be placed for tribal customary adoption in the case of an Indian child, be placed with a legal guardian, or be placed with a fit and willing relative.

(3) When the child is 16 years of age or older and is in another planned permanent living arrangement, the social study prepared for the hearing shall include a description of all of the following:

(A) The intensive and ongoing efforts to return the child to the home of the parent, place the child for adoption, or establish a legal guardianship, as appropriate.

(B) The steps taken to do both of the following:

(i) Ensure that the child s care provider is following the reasonable and prudent parent standard.

(ii) Determine whether the child has regular, ongoing opportunities to engage in age or developmentally appropriate activities, including consulting with the child about opportunities for the child to participate in those activities.

(4) When the child is under 16 years of age and has a permanent plan of return home, adoption, legal guardianship, or placement with a fit and willing relative, any barriers to achieving the permanent plan and the efforts made by the agency address those barriers.

(i) If, as authorized by subdivision (h), the court orders a hearing pursuant to Section 366.26, the court shall direct the agency supervising the child and the county adoption agency, or the State Department of Social Services when it is acting as an adoption agency, to prepare an assessment as provided for in subdivision (i) of Section 366.21 or subdivision (b) of Section 366.22. A hearing held pursuant to Section 366.26 shall be held no later than 120 days from the date of the 12-month review at which it is ordered, and at that hearing the court shall determine whether adoption, tribal customary adoption, legal guardianship, placement with a fit and willing relative, or, for a child 16 years of age or older, another planned permanent living arrangement is the most appropriate plan for the child. On and after January 1, 2012, a hearing pursuant to Section 366.26 shall not be ordered if the child is a nonminor dependent, unless the nonminor dependent is an Indian child and tribal customary adoption is recommended as the permanent plan. The court may order that a nonminor dependent who otherwise is eligible pursuant to Section 11403 remain in a planned, permanent living arrangement. At the request of the nonminor dependent who has an established relationship with an adult determined to be the nonminor dependent s permanent connection, the court may order adoption of the nonminor dependent pursuant to subdivision (f) of Section 366.31.

(j) The reviews conducted pursuant to subdivision (a) or (d) may be conducted earlier than every six months if the court determines that an earlier review is in the best interests of the child or as court rules prescribe.

(Amended by Stats. 2015, Ch. 425, Sec. 14. Effective January 1, 2016.)

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Last modified: September 9, 2016