Rule 3.979 Juvenile Guardianships

(A)   Appointment of Juvenile Guardian; Process. If the court determines at a posttermination review hearing or a permanency planning hearing that it is in the child’s best interests, the court may appoint a juvenile guardian for the child pursuant to MCL 712A.19a or MCL 712A.19c.

   (1) Under MCR 3.979(A), the court shall order the Department of Human Services to:

      (a)   conduct a criminal record check and central registry clearance of the residents of the home and submit the results to the court within 7 days; and

      (b)   perform a home study with a copy to be submitted to the court within 28 days, unless a home study has been performed within the immediately preceding 365 days, in which case a copy of that home study shall be submitted to the court.

   (2)   If a child for whom a juvenile guardianship is proposed is in foster care, the court shall continue the child’s placement and order the information required above about the proposed juvenile guardian. If the information required above has already been provided to the court, the court may issue an order appointing the proposed juvenile guardian pursuant to subrule (B).

   (3)   If the parental rights over a child who is the subject of a proposed juvenile guardianship have been terminated, the court shall not appoint a guardian without the written consent of the Michigan Children’s Institute (MCI) superintendent. The court may order the Department of Human Services to seek the consent of the MCI superintendent. The consent must be filed with the court no later than 28 days after the permanency planning hearing or the posttermination review hearing, or such longer time as the court may allow for good cause shown.

      (a) If a person denied consent believes that the decision to withhold consent by the MCI superintendent is arbitrary or capricious, the person may file a motion with the court within 56 days of receipt of the decision to deny consent. A motion under this subsection shall contain information regarding both of the following:

         (i) the specific steps taken by the person or agency to obtain the consent required and the results, if any, and

         (ii) the specific reasons why the person or agency believes that the decision to withhold consent was arbitrary or capricious.

      (b)   If a motion is filed alleging that the MCI superintendent’s failure to consent was arbitrary or capricious, the court shall set a hearing date and ensure that notice is provided to the MCI superintendent and all parties entitled to notice under MCR 3.921.

      (c)   If a hearing is held and the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the decision to withhold consent was arbitrary or capricious, the court may approve the guardianship without the consent of the MCI superintendent.

      The court shall determine the continuing necessity and appropriateness of the child’s placement.

(B)   Order Appointing Juvenile Guardian. After receiving the information ordered by the court under subsection (A)(1), and after finding that appointment of a juvenile guardian is in the child’s best interests, the court may enter an order appointing a juvenile guardian.   The order appointing a juvenile guardian shall be on a form approved by the state court administrator. Within 7 days of receiving the information, the court shall enter an order appointing a juvenile guardian or schedule the matter for a hearing. A separate order shall be entered for each child.

   (1)   Acceptance of Appointment. A juvenile guardian appointed by the court shall file an acceptance of appointment with the court on a form approved by the state court administrator. The acceptance shall state, at a minimum, that the juvenile guardian accepts the appointment, submits to personal jurisdiction of the court, will not delegate the juvenile guardian’s authority, and will perform required duties.

   (2)   Letters of Authority. On the filing of the acceptance of appointment, the court shall issue letters of authority on a form approved by the state court administrator. Any restriction or limitation of the powers of the juvenile guardian must be set forth in the letters of authority, including but not limited to, not moving the domicile of the child from the state of Michigan without court approval.   

   (3)   Certification. Certification of the letters of authority and a statement that on a given date the letters are in full force and effect may appear on the face of copies furnished to the juvenile guardian or interested persons.

   (4)   Notice. Notice of a proceeding relating to the juvenile guardianship shall be delivered or mailed to the juvenile guardian by first-class mail at the juvenile guardian’s address as listed in the court records and to his or her address as then known to the petitioner. Any notice mailed first class by the court to the juvenile guardian’s last address on file shall be considered notice to the juvenile guardian.

(C)   Court Jurisdiction; Review Hearings; Lawyer- Guardian ad Litem.

   (1) Jurisdiction. The court’s jurisdiction over a juvenile guardianship shall continue until terminated by court order. The court’s jurisdiction over a juvenile under section 2(b) of the Juvenile Code, MCL 712A.2(b), and the jurisdiction of the MCI under section 3 of 1935 PA 220, MCL 400.203, shall be terminated after the court appoints a juvenile guardian under this section and conducts a review hearing pursuant to MCR 3.975 when parental rights to the child have not been terminated, or a review hearing pursuant to MCR 3.978 when parental rights to the child have been terminated. Upon notice by the Department of Human Services that extended guardianship assistance beyond age 18 will be provided to a youth pursuant to MCL 400.665, the court shall retain jurisdiction over the guardianship until that youth no longer receives extended guardian assistance.

   (2) Review Hearings. The review hearing following appointment of the juvenile guardian must be conducted within 91 days of the most recent review hearing if it has been one year or less from the date the child was last removed from the home, or within 182 days of the most recent review hearing if it has been more than one year from the date the child was last removed from the home.

   (3) Lawyer-Guardian ad Litem. The appointment of the lawyer-guardian ad litem in the child protective proceeding terminates upon entry of the order terminating the court’s jurisdiction pursuant to MCL 712A.2(b). At any time after a juvenile guardian is appointed, the court may reappoint the lawyer-guardian ad litem or may appoint a new lawyer-guardian ad litem if the court is satisfied that such action is warranted. A lawyer-guardian ad litem appointed under this subrule is subject to the provisions of MCL 712A.17d.

(D)   Court Responsibilities.   

   (1)   Annual Review.

   (a) The court shall conduct a review of a juvenile guardianship annually. The review shall be commenced within 63 days after the anniversary date of the appointment of the guardian. The court may conduct a review of a juvenile guardianship at any time it deems necessary. If the report of the juvenile guardian has not been filed as required by subrule (E)(1), the court shall take appropriate action.

   (b) If extended guardianship assistance has been provided to a youth pursuant to MCL 400.665, the court shall conduct an annual review hearing at least once every 12 months after the youth’s eighteenth birthday to determine that the guardianship meets the criteria under MCL 400.667. Notice of the hearing shall be sent to the guardian and the youth as provided in MCR 3.920(D)(1). The court shall issue an order to support its determination and serve the order on the Department of Human Services, the guardian, and the youth.

   (2)   Investigation. The court shall appoint the Department of Human Services or another person to conduct an investigation of the juvenile guardianship of a child when deemed appropriate by the court or upon petition by the Department of Human Services or an interested person. The investigator shall file a written report with the court within 28 days of such appointment and shall serve it on the other interested parties listed in MCR 3.921(C). The report shall include a recommendation regarding whether the juvenile guardianship should continue or be modified and whether a hearing should be scheduled. If the report recommends modification, the report shall state the nature of the modification.

   (3)   Judicial Action. After informal review of the report provided in subrule (D)(2), the court shall enter an order denying the modification or set a date for a hearing to be held within 28 days.

   (4) Upon notice of a child’s death the court shall enter an order of discharge. The court may schedule a hearing on the matter before entering an order of discharge.

(E)   Duties and Authority of Guardian Appointed to Juvenile Guardianship. A juvenile guardianship approved under these rules is authorized by the Juvenile Code and is distinct from a guardianship authorized under the Estates and Protected Individuals Code. A juvenile guardian has all the powers and duties of a guardian set forth under section 5215 of the Estates and Protected Individuals Code.

   (1)   Report of Juvenile Guardian. A juvenile guardian shall file a written report annually within 56 days after the anniversary of appointment and at other times as the court may order. Reports must be on a form approved by the state court administrator. The juvenile guardian must serve the report on the persons listed in MCR 3.921.

   (2)   Petition for Conservator. At the time of appointing a juvenile guardian or during the period of the juvenile guardianship, the court shall determine whether there would be sufficient assets under the control of the juvenile guardian to require a conservatorship. If so, the court shall order the juvenile guardian to petition the probate court for a conservator pursuant to MCL 700.5401 et seq.

   (3)   Address of Juvenile Guardian. The juvenile guardian must keep the court informed in writing within 7 days of any change in the juvenile guardian’s address.

   (4) The juvenile guardian shall provide the court and interested persons with written notice within 14 days of the child’s death.

(F)   Revocation or Termination of Guardianship.

   (1) Motion or Petition.

      (a) Revocation of Juvenile Guardianship. The court shall, on its own motion or upon petition from the Department of Human Services or the child’s lawyer-guardian ad litem, hold a hearing to determine whether a juvenile guardianship established under this section shall be revoked.

      (b) Termination of Juvenile Guardian and Appointment of Successor. A juvenile guardian or other interested person may petition the court for permission to terminate the guardianship. A petition may include a request for appointment of a successor juvenile guardian.

   (2) Hearing. If a petition for revocation or termination is filed with the court, the court shall hold a hearing within 28 days to determine whether to grant the petition to revoke or terminate the juvenile guardianship. The court may order temporary removal of the child under MCR 3.963 to protect the health, safety, or welfare of the child, pending the revocation or termination hearing. If the court orders removal of the child from the juvenile guardian to protect the child’s health, safety, or welfare, the court must proceed under MCR 3.974(B).

   (3) Investigation and Report. In preparation for the revocation or termination hearing, the court shall order the Department of Human Services to perform an investigation and file a written report of the investigation. The report shall be filed with the court no later than 7 days before the hearing. The report shall include the reasons for terminating a juvenile guardianship or revoking a juvenile guardianship, and a recommendation regarding temporary placement, if necessary.

   (4)   Notice. The court shall ensure that interested persons are given notice of the hearing as provided in MCR 3.920 and MCR 3.921.   The court may proceed in the absence of interested persons provided that proper notice has been given. The notice must inform the interested persons 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, and an attorney for one of the parties.

   (5)   Action Following Motion or Petition to Revoke Juvenile Guardianship. After notice and a hearing on a petition to revoke the juvenile guardianship, if the court finds by a preponderance of evidence that continuation of the juvenile guardianship is not in the child’s best interests, and upon finding that it is contrary to the welfare of the child to be placed in or remain in the juvenile guardian’s home and that reasonable efforts were made to prevent removal, the court shall revoke the juvenile guardianship.   The court shall enter an order revoking the juvenile guardianship and placing the child under the care and supervision of the Department of Human Services on a form approved by the state court administrator. Jurisdiction over the child under MCL 712A.2(b) is reinstated under the previous child protective proceeding upon entry of the order revoking the juvenile guardianship.

   (6)   Action Following Petition to Terminate Appointment of Juvenile Guardian. After notice and a hearing on a petition to terminate the appointment of a juvenile guardian, if the court finds it is in the child’s best interests to terminate the appointment and if there is:

      (a) no successor, the court shall proceed according to subrule (F)(5); or

      (b) a successor, the court shall terminate the appointment of the juvenile guardian and proceed with an investigation and appointment of a successor juvenile guardian in accordance with the requirements of this rule, and the court’s jurisdiction over the juvenile guardianship shall continue. An order terminating a juvenile guardianship and appointing a successor juvenile guardian shall be entered on a form approved by the state court administrator.

   (7)   Dispositional Review Hearing. The court shall hold a dispositional review hearing pursuant to MCR 3.973 or MCR 3.978 within 42 days of revocation of a juvenile guardianship. The Department of Human Services shall prepare a case service plan and file it with the court no later than 7 days before the hearing. Subsequent postdispositional review hearings shall be scheduled in conformity with MCR 3.974 and MCR 3.975.