(a) (1) The status of every dependent child in foster care shall be reviewed periodically as determined by the court but no less frequently than once every six months, as calculated from the date of the original dispositional hearing, until the hearing described in Section 366.26 is completed. The court shall consider the safety of the child and shall determine all of the following:
(A) The continuing necessity for and appropriateness of the placement.
(B) The extent of the agency’s compliance with the case plan in making reasonable efforts, or, in the case of a child 16 years of age or older with another planned permanent living arrangement, the ongoing and intensive efforts, or, in the case of an Indian child, active efforts as described in Section 361.7, to return the child to a safe home and to complete any steps necessary to finalize the permanent placement of the child, including efforts to maintain relationships between a child who is 10 years of age or older and who has been in an out-of-home placement for six months or longer, and individuals other than the child’s siblings who are important to the child, consistent with the child’s best interests.
(C) 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 those necessary to protect the child. Whenever 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.
(D) (i) Whether the child has other siblings under the court’s jurisdiction, and, if any siblings exist, all of the following:
(I) The nature of the relationship between the child and his or her siblings.
(II) The appropriateness of developing or maintaining the sibling relationships pursuant to Section 16002.
(III) 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.
(IV) If the siblings are not placed together, all of the following:
(ia) The frequency and nature of the visits between the siblings.
(ib) 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.
(ic) If there are visits between the siblings, a description of the location and length of the visits.
(id) Any plan to increase visitation between the siblings.
(V) The impact of the sibling relationships on the child’s placement and planning for legal permanence.
(VI) The continuing need to suspend sibling interaction, if applicable, pursuant to subdivision (c) of Section 16002.
(ii) The factors the court may consider in making a determination regarding the nature of the child’s sibling relationships may 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.
(E) The extent of progress that has been made toward alleviating or mitigating the causes necessitating placement in foster care.
(F) If the review hearing is the last review hearing to be held before the child attains 18 years of age, the court shall conduct the hearing pursuant to Section 366.31 or 366.32.
(2) The court shall project a likely date by which the child may be returned to and safely maintained in the home or placed for adoption, tribal customary adoption in the case of an Indian child, legal guardianship, placed with a fit and willing relative, or in another planned permanent living arrangement.
(b) Subsequent to the hearing, periodic reviews of each child in foster care shall be conducted pursuant to the requirements of Sections 366.3 and 16503.
(c) If the child has been placed out of state, each review described in subdivision (a) and any reviews conducted pursuant to Sections 366.3 and 16503 shall also address whether the out-of-state placement continues to be the most appropriate placement selection and in the best interests of the child.
(d) (1) A review described in subdivision (a) and any reviews conducted pursuant to Sections 366.3 and 16503 shall not result in a placement of a child outside the United States prior to a judicial finding that the placement is in the best interest of the child, except as required by federal law or treaty.
(2) The party or agency requesting placement of the child outside the United States shall carry the burden of proof and must show, by clear and convincing evidence, that a placement outside the United States is in the best interest of the child.
(3) In determining the best interest of the child, the court shall consider, but not be limited to, the following factors:
(A) Placement with a relative.
(B) Placement of siblings in the same home.
(C) Amount and nature of any contact between the child and the potential guardian or caretaker.
(D) Physical and medical needs of the dependent child.
(E) Psychological and emotional needs of the dependent child.
(F) Social, cultural, and educational needs of the dependent child.
(G) Specific desires of any dependent child who is 12 years of age or older.
(4) If the court finds that a placement outside the United States is, by clear and convincing evidence, in the best interest of the child, the court may issue an order authorizing the social worker or placing agency to make a placement outside the United States. A child subject to this subdivision shall not leave the United States prior to the issuance of the order described in this paragraph.
(5) For purposes of this subdivision, “outside the United States” shall not include the lands of any federally recognized American Indian tribe or Alaskan Natives.
(6) This section shall not apply to the placement of a dependent child with a parent.
(e) A child may not be placed in an out-of-state group home, or remain in an out-of-state group home, unless the group home is in compliance with Section 7911.1 of the Family Code.
(f) The status review of every nonminor dependent, as defined in subdivision (v) of Section 11400, shall be conducted pursuant to the requirements of Sections 366.3, 366.31, or 366.32, and 16503 until dependency jurisdiction is terminated pursuant to Section 391.
(Amended by Stats. 2015, Ch. 425, Sec. 9. (SB 794) Effective January 1, 2016.)
Last modified: October 25, 2018