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      CHC 624     


Art. 624. Continued custody hearing; continued safety plan hearing; federal Indian Child Welfare Act

            A. If a child is not released to the care of his parents, a hearing shall be held by the court within three days after the child's removal or entry into custody. An order setting the hearing shall provide for appointment of counsel for the child and notice to the program approved to represent children. If a safety plan has been ordered, a hearing shall be held by the court within three days from the issuance of the safety plan order, unless the parents are in agreement with the safety plan. The parents' signature on the safety plan shall constitute evidence of their agreement with the plan.

            B. After notice to all parties and when a child is in foster care, to any foster parent, pre-adoptive parent, and relative providing care, and upon a showing of good cause, the court may grant, deny, or condition a requested continuance of the proceeding in accordance with the best interests of the child. The hearing may be continued for up to three additional days. If a continuance is granted, the court shall issue a written order identifying the mover and reciting the particular facts justifying the continuance.

            C.(1) If it appears from the record that the parent cannot be found or has been served a summons or notified by the department to appear at the continued custody or continued safety plan hearing and fails to appear at the hearing, then the hearing may be held in the parent's absence.

            (2) If a foster parent, pre-adoptive parent, adoptive parent, or relative providing care for the child fails to appear at the hearing, the department shall report to the court whether notice was given, or, if not, what diligent efforts were made to locate and notify the absent person. The court may permit the hearing to be held in the person's absence.

            D. At the commencement of the hearing, on the record, the court shall ask each person before the court whether he knows or has reason to know that the child is an Indian child. Each person before the court shall be instructed to inform the court if he subsequently discovers information indicating that the child is an Indian child.

            E. At this hearing, the state has the burden of proving the existence of a ground for continued custody or the continued implementation of a safety plan pursuant to Article 626.

            F. The child and his parents may introduce evidence, call witnesses, be heard on their own behalf, and cross-examine witnesses called by the state.

            G. Hearsay evidence shall be admissible at this hearing.

            H. A suitable relative or other suitable individual who seeks to become the custodian of the child shall provide evidence of a willingness and ability to provide a wholesome and stable environment for the child and to protect the health and safety of the child pending an adjudication hearing. He shall affirm a continued acceptance of the terms of the safety plan.

            Acts 1991, No. 235, §6, eff. Jan. 1, 1992; Acts 1993, No. 634, §1, eff. June 15, 1993; Acts 1999, No. 449, §1, eff. July 1, 1999; Acts 1999, No. 1215, §1, eff. July 9, 1999; Acts 2001, No. 567, §1; Acts. 2005, No. 148, §1; Acts 2006, No. 278, §§1 and 2; Acts 2007, No. 334, §1; Acts 2014, No. 354, §1; Acts 2014, No. 486, §1; Acts 2018, No. 296, §1.

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