47351. Reinstatement of Parental Rights

Purpose 

Eligible youth have the right to know and have counsel if a parent contacts the department, supervising agency or GAL about reinstatement of their parental rights. Assigned counsel can support youth when they consider petitioning the court for reinstatement of parental rights.

Laws

RCW 13.34.215 Petition Reinstating Terminated Parental Rights

Policy

  1. Youth 12 and older have the right to petition the court for reinstatement of parental rights when meeting certain criteria.
  2. Verbal notice must be provided to eligible dependent youth 12 and older, of their right to have counsel appointed if a parent contacts CA, the supervising agency or GAL regarding reinstatement of their parental rights.

Procedures

  1. Notify eligible youth 12 and older who meet the criteria of their right petition the court for reinstatement of parent rights:
    • Previously found dependent under RCW 13.34.
    • Age 12 and older
    • Legally free for at least three years; with the entry of a final order of termination
    • Permanent plan is not achieved or will not immediately be achieved
    • Permanent plan was achieved but not sustained for three years
  2. Note: Eligible youth under age 12 may also petition the court for reinstatement of parental rights if good cause is determined.
  3. The court will inquire if an eligible youth has received notification of right to counsel and the parental rights reinstatement at a review hearing. An eligible youth includes the following criteria:
    • Does not have a court appointed attorney;
    • Age 12 and older
    • Legally free for at least three years; with the entry of a final order of termination
    • Permanent plan is not achieved or will not immediately be achieved.
  4. Note: After the eligible youth's 15th birthday the court will make an additional inquiry.
  5. Document the notification in a Case Note or on the Shared Planning Form in the electronic case file.
  6. Complete a Safety Assessment and background check of the parent(s) and any other adults in the home prior and be prepared to make recommendations. Consider the following:
    • Reinstatement of parental rights is in the best interest of the youth;
    • Reinstatement will present a risk to the health, safety, and welfare of the youth, and;
    • The parent(s) has addressed their parental deficiencies.
  7. Complete the following when the court conditionally grants the petition to reinstate parental rights:
    • Change the permanency plan in the report to the court to reunification;
    • Complete a Safety Assessment and Plan and refer family for transitional services;
    • Supervise placement for six months as per Trial Return Home 43051A policy; and
    • Conduct monthly social worker visits/health and safety checks in the home, not to exceed 40 days between each visit as perSocial Worker Visit 4420 policy.
  8. When the court determines the youth is safe and has lived with the parent for a minimum of six (6) months:
    • Document court decision to dismiss the dependency;
    • Close the case.

Resources

Guidelines for Reinstatement Hearings

Reinstatement Threshold Hearing Notification could include:

Assist the youth with obtaining legal counsel upon the youth's request to petition the court for reinstatement of parental rights by:

  1. Contacting the legal counsel already assigned to the case;
  2. Requesting legal counsel at the next review hearing or if no hearing is scheduled make a request for an early review;
  3. Notifying the youth's Tribe(s) if applicable.
  4. Notifying all parties of the Threshold Hearing including:
    1. Youth's former parent whose parental rights are the subject of the petition;
    2. Youth's current foster parent, relative caregiver, guardian or custodian;
    3. Youth's Tribe(s) if applicable;
    4. Note: Hearing notification to all parties is by via personal service or certified mail or the court can order a specific type of notification.

Reinstatement Threshold Hearing could include:

Request the court to order any assessments and/or evaluations needed to evaluate the parent's current fitness and interest in reinstatement. In determining what assessments and/or evaluations may be appropriate consider the following:

  1. Deficiencies identified in the record of the prior termination proceeding;
  2. Services recommended and not completed in the dependency action;
  3. Any current concerns;
  4. Current youth welfare check and background check;
  5. Consult with the AAG regarding recommendations for any assessments and/or evaluations.

Reinstatement Merit Hearing Notification could include:

Give prior notice of the merit hearing to the following parties:

  1. The youth's former parent whose parental rights are the subject of the petition;
  2. The youth's current foster parent, relative caregiver, guardian or custodian;
  3. The youth's tribe if applicable.

Reinstatement Merit Hearing could include:

Prepare documentation to show efforts made by the department to achieve permanency, such as:

  1. Dates youth was staffed at Adoption Consortium;
  2. Youth's registration with WARE;
  3. Youth's registry with the Northwest Adoption Exchange;
  4. Youth's participation in other recruitment projects (i.e. Wednesday's Child );
  5. Dates of discussion with youth in which the youth was asked, about in-state and out-of-state placement options (include copies of relevant case notes);
  6. On-going relative search documentation;
  7. Dates of discussion with current and past foster parents (include copies of relevant case notes)
  8. Any other recruitment activities as appropriate; and
  9. Review of adoptive home studies considered and reasons why the family is not considered (include copies of relevant case notes).