SB 5692 amends current law to be consistent with recently passed federal legislation in the following ways:
- Specifies that long term relative or foster care can be identified as a permanent plan if the child is between the ages of 16-18 (is currently up to 18 years of age with no minimum age identified);
- States that “the court shall find, as of the date of the [permanency planning] hearing, another planned permanent living arrangement is the best permanency plan for the child and provide compelling reasons why it continues to not be in the child’s best interest to (i) return home; (ii) be placed for adoption; (iii) be placed with a legal guardian; or (iv) be placed with a fit and willing relative. If the child is present at the hearing, the court should ask the child about this or her desired permanency outcome.
SB 5692 as amended by the Early Learning and Human Services Committee: As amended, the bill states that although a permanency plan of care may only identify long-term relative or foster care for a child between ages 16 and 18, children under 16 may remain placed with relatives or in foster care. Additionally, it clarifies that if the goal of long-term foster or relative care has been achieved before a permanency planning hearing, the court shall find that the child's placement and plan of care is the best permanency plan for the child.