(a) Required Review. All dependent children must have their status reviewed as provided by law. Any party may petition the court for a judicial review as provided by law.
(b) Scheduling Hearings.
(1) Initial Review Hearing. The court must determine when the first review hearing must be held and the clerk of the court must immediately schedule the review hearing. In no case may the hearing be scheduled for later than 6 months from the date of removal from the home or 90 days from the disposition or case plan approval hearing, whichever comes first. In every case, the court must conduct a judicial review at least every 6 months.
(2) Subsequent Review Hearings. At each judicial review hearing, the court must schedule the next judicial review hearing which must be conducted within 6 months. The clerk of the court, at the judicial review hearing, must provide the parties, the social service agency charged with the supervision of care, custody, or guardianship of the child, the foster parent or caregiver in whose home the child resides, any preadoptive parent, and such other persons as the court may direct with written notice of the date, time, and location of the next judicial review hearing.
(3) Review Hearings for Children 16 Years of Age. The court must provide the child the opportunity to address the court and must review the child’s independent living transition services. The foster parent, legal custodian, or guardian ad litem may also provide any information relevant to the child’s best interest to the court. At the first hearing after the child’s 16th birthday, the court must inquire about the life skills the child has acquired and whether they are age-appropriate, and the department must provide a report that includes specific information as to the life skills the child has acquired since the child’s 13th birthday, or since the child came into foster care, whichever came later.
(4) Review Hearings for Children 17 Years of Age. The court must hold a judicial review hearing within 90 days after a child’s 17th birthday. The court must also issue an order, separate from the order on judicial review, that the specific disabilities of nonage of the child have been removed pursuant to sections 743.044, 743.045, 743.046, and 743.047, Florida Statutes, as well as any other disabilities of nonage that the court finds to be in the child’s best interest to remove. The court must continue to hold timely judicial review hearings. The department must update the child’s transition plan before each judicial review hearing as required by law. If necessary, the court may review the status of the child more frequently during the year before the child’s 18th birthday. At the last review hearing before the child reaches 18 years of age, the court must also address whether the child plans to remain in foster care, and, if so, ensure that the child’s transition plan complies with the law. The court must approve the child’s transition plan before the child’s 18th birthday.
(5) Review Hearings for Young Adults in Foster Care. The court must review the status of a young adult at least every six months and must hold a permanency review hearing at least annually while the young adult remains in foster care. The young adult or any other party to the dependency case may request an additional hearing or judicial review.
(c) Report. In all cases, the department or its agent must prepare a report to the court. The report must contain facts showing the court to have jurisdiction of the cause as a dependency case. It must contain information as to the identity and residence of the parent, if known, and the caregiver, the dates of the original dependency adjudication and any subsequent judicial review proceedings, the results of any safe-harbor placement assessment including the status of the child’s placement, and a request for one or more of the following forms of relief:
(1) that the child’s placement be changed;
(2) that the case plan be continued to permit the parents or social service agency to complete the tasks assigned to them in the agreement;
(3) that proceedings be instituted to terminate parental rights and legally free the child for adoption; or
(4) that the child has a special need as defined in section 39.01305, Florida Statutes, who is not represented by an attorney, and who requires appointment of an attorney.
(d) Service. A copy of the report containing recommendations and, if not previously provided by the court, a notice of review hearing must be served on all persons who are required by law to be served at least 72 hours before the judicial review hearing.
(e) Information Available to Court. At the judicial review hearing the court may receive any relevant and material evidence pertinent to the cause. This must include written reports required by law and may include, but must not be limited to, any psychiatric or psychological evaluations of the child or parent, caregiver that may be obtained and that are material and relevant. This evidence may be received by the court and relied on to the extent of its probative value, even though it may not be competent in an adjudicatory hearing.
(f) Court Action.
(1) The court must hold a hearing to review the compliance of the parties with the case plan and to determine what assigned tasks were and were not accomplished and the reasons for any noncompliance. The court must also determine the frequency, kind, and duration of contracts among siblings who have been separated during placement, as well as any efforts undertaken to reunite separated siblings, if doing so is in the best interest of each child.
(2) If the court determines that the circumstances that caused the out-of-home placement, and any issues subsequently identified, have been remedied to the extent that returning the child to the home with an in-home safety plan prepared or approved by the department will not be detrimental to the child’s safety, well- being, and physical, mental, and emotional health, the court must return the child to the custody of the parents.
(3) If the court finds that the social service agency has not complied with its obligations, the court may find the social service agency to be in contempt, must order the social service agency to submit its plan for compliance with the case plan, and must require the social service agency to show why the child could not be safely returned to the home of the parents. If the court finds that the child could not be safely returned to the parents, it must extend the case plan for a period of not more than 6 months to allow the social service agency to comply with its obligations under the case plan.
(4) At any judicial review held under section 39.701(3), Florida Statutes, if, in the opinion of the court, the department has not met its obligations to the child as stated in the written case plan or in the provision of independent living services, the court may issue an order directing the department to show cause as to why it has not done so. If the department cannot justify its noncompliance, the court may give the department 30 days within which to comply and, on failure to comply, the court may hold the department in contempt.
(5) The court shall appoint an attorney to represent a child with special needs as required by rule 8.231, and who is not already represented by an attorney.
(6) If, at any judicial review, the court determines that the child shall remain in out-of-home care in a placement other than with a parent, the court shall order that the department has placement and care responsibility for the child.
(7) The court must enter a written order on the conclusion of the review hearing including a statement of the facts, those findings it was directed to determine by law, a determination of the future course of the proceedings, and the date, time, and place of the next hearing.
(8) When a young adult is in extended foster care, each judicial review order shall provide that the department has placement and care responsibility for the young adult. When a young adult is in extended foster care, the court shall enter an order at least every 12 months that includes a finding of whether the department has made reasonable efforts to finalize the permanency plan currently in effect.
(1) When a child is returned to the parents, the court must not terminate its jurisdiction over the child until 6 months after the return. Based on a report of the department and any other relevant factors, the court must then determine whether jurisdiction should be continued or terminated. If its jurisdiction is to be terminated, it must enter an order to that effect. The court must retain jurisdiction over a child if the child is placed in the home with a parent or caregiver with an in-home safety plan and such safety plan remains necessary for the child to reside safely in the home.
(2) When a child has not been returned to the parent, but has been permanently committed to the department for subsequent adoption, the court must continue to hold judicial review hearings on the status of the child at least every 6 months until the adoption is finalized. These hearings must be held in accordance with these rules.
(3) If a young adult petitions the court at any time before his or her 19th birthday requesting the court’s continued jurisdiction, the court may retain or reinstate jurisdiction for a period of time not to continue beyond the date of the young adult’s 19th birthday for the purpose of determining whether appropriate services that were required to be provided to the young adult before reaching 18 years of age have been provided.
(4) If a young adult has chosen to remain in extended foster care after he or she has reached 18 years of age, the department may not close a case and the court may not terminate jurisdiction until the court finds, following a hearing, that the appropriate statutory criteria have been met.
(5) If the young adult elects to voluntarily leave extended foster care for the sole purpose of ending a removal episode and immediately thereafter executes a voluntary placement agreement with the department to reenroll in extended foster care, the court shall enter an order finding that the prior removal episode has ended. Under these circumstances, the court maintains jurisdiction and a petition to reinstate jurisdiction as provided by law is not required. When a young adult enters extended foster care by executing a voluntary placement agreement, the court shall enter an order within 180 days after execution of the agreement that determines whether the placement is in the best interest of the young adult.
(6) If a petition for special immigrant juvenile status and an application for adjustment of status have been filed on behalf of a foster child and the petition and application have not been granted by the time the child reaches 18 years of age, the court may retain jurisdiction solely for the purpose of allowing the continued consideration of the petition and application by federal authorities. Review hearings must be set solely for the purpose of determining the status of the petition and application. The court’s jurisdiction must terminate on the final decision of the federal authorities, or on the immigrant child’s 22nd birthday, whichever occurs first.
(h) Administrative Review. The department, under a formal agreement with the court in particular cases, may conduct administrative reviews instead of judicial reviews for children in out-of-home placement. Notice must be provided to all parties. An administrative review may not be substituted for the first judicial review or any subsequent 6-month review. Any party may petition the court for a judicial review as provided by law.
(i) Concurrent Planning.
(1) At the initial judicial review hearing, the court must make findings regarding the likelihood of the child’s reunification with the parent or legal custodian within 12 months after the removal of the child from the home. In making such findings, the court shall consider the level of the parent or legal custodian’s compliance with the case plan and demonstrated change in protective capacities compared to that necessary to achieve timely reunification within 12 months after the removal of the child from the home. The court shall also consider the frequency, duration, manner, and level of engagement of the parent or legal custodian’s visitation with the child in compliance with the case plan.
(2) If the court makes a written finding that it is not likely that the child will be reunified with the parent or legal custodian within 12 months after the child was removed from the home, the department must file a motion to amend the case plan and declare that it will use concurrent planning for the case plan.
(3) The department must file the motion to amend the case plan no later than 10 business days after receiving the written finding of the court and attach the proposed amended case plan to the motion.
(4) If concurrent planning is already being used, the case plan must document the efforts the department is making to complete the concurrent goal.