Twelve Month Reviews (WIC 366.21(f)) For When the child is Residing out of the Care of Both Parents
If the child has been removed from the care of both parents and is residing in foster care or a relative’s home, and additional reunification services are ordered, the court will hold a hearing 12 months from the jurisdictional hearing or 14 months from the jurisdictional hearing the detention hearing, whichever is EARLIER. Unfortunately, you do not get an additional six more months from the six-month review because of how the law is written.
What Happens at the Twelve Month Review Hearing?
At this hearing, the child is to be returned home to the parent UNLESS the court finds by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not) that return would still put the child at substantial risk of physical or emotional harm. If a parent fails to participate regularly and make substantive progress in their court-ordered services, the law presumes the child would still be a risk if sent home.
If the child is not returned, the court will terminate services in most cases, and the matter will be set for a 366.26 hearing at which the court may terminate parental rights. However, the court may extend services in certain circumstances and set an Eighteen Month Review. See WIC 366.21(f)).
The Importance of the Twelve Month Review Hearing?
This review hearing is a critical hearing for any child. If a parent has not shown substantial progress in addressing the issues that brought the child before the court by this date, and reasonable services have been provided or offered, the court WILL terminate reunification services. This result is a much more certain outcome than the Six Month Review.
If a child is not returned, in order for a parent to “earn” more services, the court must find a substantial probability of return by the Eighteen Month Review OR must make a finding that reasonable services were not offered.
The court must find all the following true to make a finding of a substantial probability of return:
The parent has consistently and regularly contacted and visited with the child.
The parent has made significant progress in resolving the problems that led to the child’s removal.
The parent had demonstrated the capacity and ability to complete the case plan’s objectives and provide for the child’s safety, protection, physical and emotional well-being, and special needs.
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