HB 2063 establishes that whenever a child is ordered removed from the home, a permanency plan will be developed no later than sixty days from the time the department assumes responsibility for providing services including placing the child, or at the time of a hearing under RCW16 13.34.130, whichever occurs first. The permanency planning process continues until a permanency planning goal is achieved or dependency is dismissed. Further, the planning process must include reasonable effort to return the child to the parent's home.
DCYF will submit a written permanency plan to all parties and the court not less than 14 days prior to the scheduled hearing. Responsive reports of parties not in agreement must be provided to the department, all other parties, and the court at least seven days prior to the hearing.
The bill outlines that permanency planning must identify goals and may identify alternative goals too. Goals include: Return of the child to the home of the child's parent, guardian, or legal custodian; adoption, including tribal customary adoption as defined in RCW 13.38.040; guardianship; permanent legal custody; long-term relative or foster care, if the child is between ages 16 and 18, with a written agreement; successful completion of a responsible living skills program; or independent living, if appropriate and if the child is age sixteen or older. The plan must outline placement and steps to return child home , what will happen with siblings and various other details unless a termination petition is filled. All aspects of the plan shall include the goal of achieving permanence for the child. Planning goals should be achieved at the soonest possible date.
The plan shall specify services offered to the parents to enable them to resume custody, requirements that must be met and a timeline.
The law also outlines planning if the parent is incarcerated or a developmental disability. Further, it details visitation rights, limitations and denials.
The law then outlines that DCYF will get a judicial determination within 180 days when a child with a developmental disability is placed in out-of-home care.
Section 3 amends previous RCW related to dependency proceedings for a guardianship to be established for a dependent child by filing a petition in juvenile court and that such notifications must happen with adequate notice. Service of the notice and summons may be made under direction of the court by any person 18 or older who is not a party to the proceedings or by any law enforcement officer, probation counselor, or department employee.
*Companion to SB 5955*
The substitute bill removes references to specific chapters of law in the definition of "guardianship" for the purposes of child permanency planning.