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California Welfare and Institutions Code Section 366.31

366.31. (a) If a review hearing is the last review hearing to be held before the minor attains 18 years of age, the court shall ensure all of the following:

(1) The minor s case plan includes a plan for the minor to satisfy one or more of the participation conditions described in paragraphs (1) to (5), inclusive, of subdivision (b) of Section 11403, so that the minor is eligible to remain in foster care as a nonminor dependent.

(2) The minor has been informed of his or her right to seek termination of dependency jurisdiction pursuant to Section 391, and understands the potential benefits of continued dependency.

(3) The minor is informed of his or her right to have dependency reinstated pursuant to subdivision (e) of Section 388, and understands the potential benefits of continued dependency.

(b) At the review hearing that occurs in the six-month period prior to the minor s attaining 18 years of age, and at every subsequent review hearing for the nonminor dependent, as described in subdivision (v) of Section 11400, the report shall describe all of the following:

(1) The minor s and nonminor s plans to remain in foster care and plans to meet one or more of the participation conditions as described in paragraphs (1) to (5), inclusive, of subdivision (b) of Section 11403 to continue to receive AFDC-FC benefits as a nonminor dependent.

(2) The efforts made and assistance provided to the minor and nonminor by the social worker or the probation officer so that the minor and nonminor will be able to meet the participation conditions.

(3) Efforts toward completing the items described in paragraph (2) of subdivision (e) of Section 391.

(c) The reviews conducted pursuant to this section for a nonminor dependent shall be conducted in a manner that respects the nonminor s status as a legal adult, focused on the goals and services described in the youth s transitional independent living case plan, as described in subdivision (y) of Section 11400, including efforts made to maintain connections with caring and permanently committed adults, and attended, as appropriate, by additional participants invited by the nonminor dependent.

(d) For a nonminor dependent whose case plan is continued court-ordered family reunification services pursuant to Section 361.6, the court shall consider whether the nonminor dependent may safely reside in the home of the parent or guardian. If the nonminor cannot reside safely in the home of the parent or guardian or if it is not in the nonminor dependent s best interest to reside in the home of the parent or guardian, the court must consider whether to continue or terminate reunification services for the parent or legal guardian.

(1) The review report shall include a discussion of all of the following:

(A) Whether foster care placement continues to be necessary and appropriate.

(B) The likely date by which the nonminor dependent may reside safely in the home of the parent or guardian or will achieve independence.

(C) Whether the parent or guardian and nonminor dependent were actively involved in the development of the case plan.

(D) Whether the social worker or probation officer has provided reasonable services designed to aid the parent or guardian to overcome the problems that led to the initial removal of the nonminor dependent.

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

(F) Whether the nonminor dependent and parent, parents, or guardian are in agreement with the continuation of reunification services.

(G) Whether continued reunification services are in the best interest of the nonminor dependent.

(H) Whether there is a substantial probability that the nonminor dependent will be able to safely reside in the home of the parent or guardian by the next review hearing date.

(I) The efforts to maintain the nonminor s connections with caring and permanently committed adults.

(J) The agency s compliance with the nonminor dependent s transitional independent living case plan, including efforts to finalize the nonminor s permanent plan and prepare the nonminor dependent for independence.

(K) The progress in providing the information and documents to the nonminor dependent as described in Section 391.

(2) The court shall inquire about the progress being made to provide a permanent home for the nonminor, shall consider the safety of the nonminor dependent, and shall determine all of the following:

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

(B) Whether the agency has made reasonable efforts to maintain relationships between the nonminor dependent and individuals who are important to the nonminor dependent.

(C) The extent of the agency s compliance with the case plan in making reasonable efforts or, in the case of an Indian child, active efforts, as described in Section 361.7, to create a safe home of the parent or guardian for the nonminor to reside in or to complete whatever steps are necessary to finalize the permanent placement of the nonminor dependent.

(D) The extent of the agency s compliance with the nonminor dependent s transitional independent living case plan, including efforts to finalize the youth s permanent plan and prepare the nonminor dependent for independence.

(E) The adequacy of services provided to the parent or guardian and to the nonminor dependent. The court shall consider the progress in providing the information and documents to the nonminor dependent 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.

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

(G) The likely date by which the nonminor dependent may safely reside in the home of the parent or guardian or, if the court is terminating reunification services, the likely date by which it is anticipated the nonminor dependent will achieve independence, or, for an Indian child, in consultation with the child s tribe, placed for tribal customary adoption.

(H) Whether the agency has made reasonable efforts as required in subparagraph (D) of paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) of Section 366 to establish or maintain the nonminor dependent s relationship with his or her siblings who are under the juvenile court s jurisdiction.

(I) The services needed to assist the nonminor dependent to make the transition from foster care to successful adulthood.

(J) Whether or not reasonable efforts to make and finalize a permanent placement for the nonminor have been made.

(3) If the court determines that a nonminor dependent may safely reside in the home of the parent or former guardian, the court may order the nonminor dependent to return to the family home. After the nonminor dependent returns to the family home, the court may terminate jurisdiction and proceed under applicable provisions of Section 391 or continue jurisdiction as a nonminor under subdivision (a) of Section 303 and hold hearings as follows:

(A) At every hearing for a nonminor dependent residing in the home of the parent or guardian, the court shall set a hearing within six months of the previous hearing. The court shall advise the parties of their right to be present. At least 10 calendar days before the hearing, the social worker or probation officer shall file a report with the court describing the services offered to the family and the progress made by the family in eliminating the conditions or factors requiring court supervision. The report shall address all of the following:

(i) Whether the parent or guardian and the nonminor dependent were actively involved in the development of the case plan.

(ii) Whether the social worker or probation officer has provided reasonable services to eliminate the need for court supervision.

(iii) The progress of providing information and documents to the nonminor dependent as described in Section 391.

(B) The court shall inquire about progress being made, shall consider the safety of the nonminor dependent, and shall determine all of the following:

(i) The continuing need for court supervision.

(ii) The extent of the agency s compliance with the case plan in making reasonable efforts to maintain a safe family home for the nonminor dependent.

(C) If the court finds that court supervision is no longer necessary, the court shall terminate jurisdiction under applicable provisions of Section 391.

(e) For a nonminor dependent who is no longer receiving court-ordered family reunification services and is in a permanent plan of another planned permanent living arrangement, at the review hearing held every six months pursuant to subdivision (d) of Section 366.3, the reviewing body shall inquire about the progress being made to provide permanent connections with caring, committed adults for the nonminor dependent, shall consider the safety of the nonminor, shall consider the transitional independent living case plan, and shall determine all of the following:

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

(2) The continuing appropriateness and extent of compliance with the permanent plan for the nonminor dependent, including efforts to identify and maintain relationships with individuals who are important to the nonminor dependent.

(3) The extent of the agency s compliance with the nonminor dependent s transitional independent living case plan, including whether or not reasonable efforts have been made to make and finalize the youth s permanent plan and prepare the nonminor dependent for independence.

(4) Whether a prospective adoptive parent has been identified and assessed as appropriate for the nonminor dependent s adoption under this section, whether the prospective adoptive parent has been informed about the terms of the written negotiated adoption assistance agreement pursuant to Section 16120, and whether adoption should be ordered as the nonminor dependent s permanent plan. If nonminor dependent adoption is ordered as the nonminor dependent s permanent plan, a hearing pursuant to subdivision (f) shall be held within 60 days. When the court orders a hearing pursuant to subdivision (f), it shall direct the agency to prepare a report that shall include the provisions of paragraph (5) of subdivision (f).

(5) For the nonminor dependent who is an Indian child, whether, in consultation with the nonminor s tribe, the nonminor should be placed for tribal customary adoption.

(6) The adequacy of services provided to the nonminor dependent. The court shall consider the progress in providing the information and documents to the nonminor dependent 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 likely date by which it is anticipated the nonminor dependent will achieve adoption or independence.

(8) Whether the agency has made reasonable efforts as required in subparagraph (D) of paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) of Section 366 to establish or maintain the nonminor dependent s relationship with his or her siblings who are under the juvenile court s jurisdiction.

(9) The services needed to assist the nonminor dependent to make the transition from foster care to successful adulthood.

(10) When the hearing described in this subdivision is held pursuant to paragraph (3) or (4) of subdivision (d) of Section 366.3, and the nonminor dependent has a permanent plan of another planned permanent living arrangement, the court shall do all of the following:

(A) Ask the nonminor dependent 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 nonminor dependent.

(C) State for the record the compelling reason or reasons why it continues not to be in the best interest of the nonminor dependent 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.

(f) (1) At a hearing to consider a permanent plan of adoption for a nonminor dependent, the court shall read and consider the report in paragraph (5) and receive other evidence that the parties may present. A copy of the executed negotiated agreement shall be attached to the report. If the court finds pursuant to this section that nonminor dependent adoption is the appropriate permanent plan, it shall make findings and orders to do the following:

(A) Approve the adoption agreement and declare the nonminor dependent is the adopted child of the adoptive parent, and that the nonminor dependent and adoptive parents agree to assume toward each other the legal relationship of parents and child and to have all of the rights and be subject to all of the duties and responsibilities of that relationship.

(B) Declare that the birth parents of the nonminor dependent are, from the time of the adoption, relieved of all parental duties toward, and responsibility for, the adopted nonminor dependent and have no rights over the adopted nonminor dependent.

(2) If the court finds that the nonminor dependent and the prospective adoptive parent have mutually consented to the adoption, the court may enter the adoption order after it determines all of the following:

(A) Whether the notice was given as required by law.

(B) Whether the nonminor dependent and prospective adoptive parent are present for the hearing.

(C) Whether the court has read and considered the assessment prepared by the social worker or probation officer.

(D) Whether the court considered the wishes of the nonminor dependent.

(E) If the nonminor dependent is eligible, the prospective adoptive parent has signed the negotiated adoption assistance agreement pursuant to subdivision (g) of Section 16120, and whether a copy of the executed negotiated agreement is attached to the report.

(F) Whether the adoption is in the best interest of the nonminor dependent.

(3) If the court orders the establishment of the nonminor dependent adoption, it shall dismiss dependency or transitional jurisdiction.

(4) If the court does not order the establishment of the nonminor dependent adoption, the nonminor dependent shall remain in a planned permanent living arrangement subject to periodic review of the juvenile court pursuant to this section.

(5) At least 10 calendar days before the hearing, the social worker or probation officer shall file a report with the court and provide a copy of the report to all parties. The report shall describe the following:

(A) Whether or not the nonminor dependent has any developmental disability and whether the proposed adoptive parent is suitable to meet the needs of the nonminor dependent.

(B) The length and nature of the relationship between the prospective adoptive parent and the nonminor dependent, including whether the prospective adoptive parent has been determined to have been established as the nonminor s permanent connection.

(C) Whether the nonminor dependent has been determined to be eligible for the adoption assistance program and, if so, whether the prospective adoptive parent has signed the negotiated adoption assistance agreement pursuant to subdivision (g) of Section 16120.

(D) Whether a copy of the executed negotiated agreement is attached to the report.

(E) Whether criminal background clearances were completed for the prospective adoptive parent as required by Section 671(a)(20)(A) and (a)(20)(C) of Title 42 of the United States Code.

(F) Whether the prospective adoptive parent who is married and not legally separated from that spouse has the consent of the spouse, provided that the spouse is capable of giving that consent.

(G) Whether the adoption of the nonminor dependent is in the best interests of the nonminor dependent and the prospective adoptive parent.

(H) Whether the nonminor dependent and the prospective adoptive parent have mutually consented to the adoption.

(6) The social worker or probation officer shall serve written notice of the hearing in the manner and to the persons set forth in Section 295, including the prospective adoptive parent or parents, except that notice to the nonminor s birth parents is not required.

(7) Nothing in this section shall prevent a nonminor dependent from filing an adoption petition pursuant to Section 9300 of the Family Code.

(g) Each licensed foster family agency shall submit reports for each nonminor dependent in its care to the court concerning the continuing appropriateness and extent of compliance with the nonminor dependent s permanent plan, the extent of compliance with the transitional independent living case plan, and the type and adequacy of services provided to the nonminor dependent. The report shall document that the nonminor has received all the information and documentation described in paragraph (2) of subdivision (e) of Section 391. If the court is considering terminating dependency jurisdiction for a nonminor dependent it shall first hold a hearing pursuant to Section 391.

(h) When the nonminor dependent is in another planned permanent living arrangement, the social study prepared for the hearing held under subdivision (e) shall include a description of all of the following:

(1) The intensive and ongoing efforts to return the nonminor dependent to the home of the parent, place the nonminor dependent for adoption, or place the nonminor dependent with a fit and willing relative, as appropriate.

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

(A) Ensure that the nonminor dependent s care provider is following the reasonable and prudent parent standard.

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

(Amended by Stats. 2015, Ch. 425, Sec. 15. Effective January 1, 2016.)

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Last modified: September 9, 2016