(a) If the court finds, pursuant to any provision of this article, that the department is not required to make reasonable efforts to preserve the family, then, notwithstanding any other provision, a permanency hearing must be held within thirty days following the entry of the court order so finding, and a permanent placement review hearing must be conducted at least once every three calendar months thereafter until a permanent placement is achieved.
(b) If, twelve months after receipt by the department or its authorized agent of physical custody of a child either by a court ordered placement or by a voluntary agreement, the department has not placed a child in an adoptive home or placed the child with a natural parent or placed the child in legal guardianship or permanently placed the child with a fit and willing relative, the court shall hold a permanency hearing. The department shall file a report with the court detailing the efforts that have been made to place the child in a permanent home and copies of the child's case plan, including the permanency plan as defined in section five, article six of this chapter. Copies of the report shall be sent to the parties and all persons entitled to notice and the right to be heard. The court shall schedule a hearing, giving notice and the right to be present to: The child's attorney; the child, if twelve years of age or older; the child's parents; the child's guardians; the child's foster parents; any preadoptive parent or any relative providing care for the child; any person entitled to notice and the right to be heard; and such other persons as the court may, in its discretion, direct. The child's presence may be waived by the child's attorney at the request of the child or if the child would suffer emotional harm. The purpose of the hearing is to review the child's case, to determine whether and under what conditions the child's commitment to the department shall continue and to determine what efforts are necessary to provide the child with a permanent home. In the case of a child who will not be returned to his or her parent, the court shall consider in-state and out-of-state placement options, and, if the court considers an out-of-state placement, the court shall determine whether such placement is in the best interests of the child; in the case of a child who has attained sixteen years of age, the court shall determine the services needed to assist the child to make the transition from foster care to independent living. In any case in which the court decides to order the child placed in an out-of-state facility or program it shall set forth in the order directing the placement the reasons why the child was not placed in an in-state facility or program. At the conclusion of the hearing the court shall, in accordance with the best interests of the child, enter an order containing all such appropriate findings. The court order shall state: (1) Whether or not the department made reasonable efforts to preserve the family and to prevent out-of-home placement or that the specific situation made such effort unreasonable; (2) whether or not the department made reasonable efforts to finalize the permanency plan for the child; and (3) identify services required to meet the child's needs.
(c) The court shall conduct another permanency hearing within twelve months thereafter for each child who remains in the physical or legal custody of the department until the child is placed in an adoptive home or returned to his or her parents or placed in legal guardianship or permanently placed with a fit and willing relative.
(d) The state department shall annually report to the court the current status of the placements of children in permanent care and custody of the state department who have not been adopted.
(e) The state department shall file a report with the court in any case where any child in the temporary or permanent custody of the state receives more than three placements in one year no later than thirty days after the third placement. This report shall be provided to all parties and persons entitled to notice and the right to be heard. Upon motion by any party, the court shall review these placements and determine what efforts are necessary to provide the child with a permanent home: Provided, That no report shall be provided to any parent or parent's attorney whose parental rights have been terminated pursuant to this article.
(f) The state department shall notify, in writing, the court, the child, if over the age of twelve, the child's attorney, the parents and the parents' attorney forty-eight hours prior to the move if this is a planned move, or within forty-eight hours of the next business day after the move if this is an emergency move, except where such notification would endanger the child or the foster family. This notice shall not be required in any case where the child is in imminent danger in the child's current placement. The location of the child need not be disclosed, but the purpose of the move should be. This requirement is not waived by placement of the child in a home or other residence maintained by a private provider. No notice shall be provided pursuant to this provision to any parent or parent's attorney whose parental rights have been terminated pursuant to this article.
(g) Nothing in this article precludes any party from petitioning the court for review of the child's case at any time. The court shall grant such petition upon a showing that there is a change in circumstance or needs of the child that warrants court review.
(h) Any foster parent, preadoptive parent or relative providing care for the child shall be given notice of and the right to be heard at the permanency hearing provided in this section.
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2015 Regular Session
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