Rule 3.975 Post-dispositional Procedures: Child in Foster Care

(A) Dispositional Review Hearings. A dispositional review hearing is conducted to permit court review of the progress made to comply with any order of disposition and with the case service plan prepared pursuant to MCL 712A.18f and court evaluation of the continued need and appropriateness for the child to be in foster care.

(B) Notice. The court shall ensure that written notice of a dispositional review hearing is given to the appropriate persons in accordance with MCR. 3.920 and MCR 3.921(B)(2). The notice must inform the parties of their opportunity to participate in the hearing and that any information they wish to provide should be submitted in advance to the court, the agency, the lawyer-guardian ad litem for the child, or an attorney for one of the parties.

(C) Time. The court must conduct dispositional review hearings at intervals as follows, as long as the child remains in foster care:

(1) not more than 182 days after the child’s removal from his or her home and no later than every 91 days after that for the first year that the child is subject to the jurisdiction of the court. After the first year that the child has been removed from his or her home and is subject to the jurisdiction of the court, a review hearing shall be held not more than 182 days from the immediately preceding review hearing before the end of that first year and no later than every 182 days from each preceding review hearing thereafter until the case is dismissed; or

(2) if a child is under the care and supervision of the agency and is either placed with a relative and the placement is intended to be permanent or is in a permanent foster family agreement, not more than 182 days after the child has been removed from his or her home and no later than 182 days after that so long as the child is subject to the jurisdiction of the court, the Michigan Children’s Institute, or other agency as provided in MCR 3.976(E)(3).

A review hearing under this subrule shall not be canceled or delayed beyond the number of days required in this subrule, regardless of whether a petition to terminate parental rights or another matter is pending.

(D) Early Review Option. At the initial dispositional hearing and at every regularly scheduled dispositional review hearing, the court must decide whether it will conduct the next dispositional review hearing before what would otherwise be the next regularly scheduled dispositional review hearing as provided in subrule (C). In deciding whether to shorten the interval between review hearings, the court shall, among other factors, consider:

(1) the ability and motivation of the parent, guardian, or legal custodian to make changes needed to provide the child a suitable home environment;

(2) the reasonable likelihood that the child will be ready to return home earlier than the next scheduled dispositional review hearing.

(E) Procedure. Dispositional review hearings must be conducted in accordance with the procedures and rules of evidence applicable to the initial dispositional hearing. The report of the agency that is filed with the court must be accessible to the parties and offered into evidence. The court shall consider any written or oral information concerning the child from the child's parent, guardian, legal custodian, foster parent, child caring institution, or relative with whom a child is placed, in addition to any other relevant and material evidence at the hearing. The court, on request of a party or on its own motion, may accelerate the hearing to consider any element of a case service plan. The court, upon receipt of a local foster care review board’s report, shall include the report in the court’s confidential social file. The court shall ensure that all parties have had the opportunity to review the report and file objections before a dispositional order, dispositional review order, or permanency planning order is entered. The court may at its discretion include recommendations from the report in its orders.

(F) Criteria.

(1) Review of Case Service Plan. The court, in reviewing the progress toward compliance with the case service plan, must consider:

(a) the services provided or offered to the child and parent, guardian, or legal custodian of the child;

(b) whether the parent, guardian, or legal custodian has benefited from the services provided or offered;

(c) the extent of parenting time or visitation, including a determination regarding the reasons either was not frequent or never occurred;

(d) the extent to which the parent, guardian, or legal custodian complied with each provision of the case service plan, prior court orders, and any agreement between the parent, guardian, or legal custodian and the agency;

(e) any likely harm to the child if the child continues to be separated from his or her parent, guardian, or custodian;

(f) any likely harm to the child if the child is returned to the parent, guardian, or legal custodian; and

(g)   if the child is an Indian child, whether the child’s placement remains appropriate and complies with MCR 3.967(F).

(2) Progress Toward Returning Child Home. The court must decide the extent of the progress made toward alleviating or mitigating conditions that caused the child to be, and to remain, in foster care. The court shall also review the concurrent plan, if applicable.

(G) Dispositional Review Orders. The court, following a dispositional review hearing, may:

(1) order the return of the child home,

(2) change the placement of the child,

(3) modify the dispositional order,

(4) modify any part of the case service plan,

(5) enter a new dispositional order, or

(6) continue the prior dispositional order.

(H) Returning Child Home Without Dispositional Review Hearing. Unless notice is waived, if not less than 7 days written notice is given to all parties before the return of a child to the home, and if no party requests a hearing within the 7 days, the court may issue an order without a hearing permitting the agency to return the child home.