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Massachusetts Uniform Rules for Permanency Hearings Rule 2: Definitions

[Disclaimer]

For the purposes of these rules:

A. "Child in the Care of the Department" means any child placed in the care or custody of the Department of Social Services by order of a court of competent jurisdiction.

B. "Clerk's Office" means office of the Clerk-Magistrate or Register of Probate of the court where the hearing is convened.

C. "Committing Court" means the court which granted custody or transferred responsibility of or committed a child to the Department of Social Services.

D. "Department" means the Department of Social Services.

E. "Hearing" means a hearing convened pursuant to G.L. c. 119, § 29B.

F. "Parent" means a child's biological or adoptive mother or father.

G. "Party" shall include the original parties to the actions, or any party substituted for an original party. A parent, including a parent who is not an original party to the action, shall be a party unless that parent's rights to consent to or receive notice of any petition for adoption, custody, guardianship or other disposition of the child pursuant to G.L. c. 119, § 26 or G.L. c. 210, § 3 have been dispensed with or that parent has signed a voluntary surrender under G.L. c. 119 § 23(B) or G.L. c 210 § 2.

H. "Plan" as referred to in Rule 3 means a written document prepared by the Department which shall omit the names and addresses of the foster parents but shall include the following:

1. identifying information about the child:

a. child's name;

b. parent(s)'s name;

c. docket number; and

d. name(s) and birth date(s) of siblings in the care or custody of the Department or otherwise known to the Department;

2. a brief history of the case including:

a. legal history;

b. reason for placement;

c. placement history; and

d. problem(s) to be resolved to achieve the permanency plan;

3. recommended permanent plan including, whether and, if applicable, when:

a. the child will be returned to the parent;

b. the child will be placed for adoption and the steps the Department shall take to free the child for adoption and to finalize the adoption;

c. the child will be referred for legal guardianship and the steps the Department shall take to finalize the guardianship; or

d. the child will be placed in another planned permanent living arrangement; (the Department shall include compelling reasons that it would not be in the best interests of the child to return home, be placed for adoption, or be referred for legal guardianship);

4. services and other assistance provided to the family, including:

a. services provided in the past;

b. services currently provided or provided on a continuing basis;

c. services to be provided;

d. if the child has attained the age of sixteen (16), the services provided to assist the child in making the transition from foster care to independent living; and

e. other steps taken to implement the plan if not otherwise covered above;

5. degree of all parties compliance with service plan tasks;

6. type of placement; including:

a. how the current placement meets the child's current needs;

b. how the current placement furthers the permanency plan;

c. if the child is placed in a foster home outside the state in which child's parents' home is located, why the out-of-state placement continues to be appropriate and in the child's best interests;

d. if the child is a medically needy child, a description of the individualized health care plan for the child; and

e. if the court has previously determined that reasonable efforts to return the child to his/her parents are not required, or has determined that reasonable efforts to return the child to his/her parents are inconsistent with the permanency plan, then the action taken by the department to place the child in a timely manner in accordance with the previously approved plan. e.g. efforts to recruit a pre-adoptive family;

7. visitation plan including but not limited to visitation among siblings; and

8. results of any internal reviews by the foster care review unit.

I. "Permanency Plan" as referred to in Rule 7 means a plan for the child as determined by the court pursuant to G.L. c. 119, § 29B.

As amended, effective September 5, 2000.