2010 Georgia Code
TITLE 15 - COURTS
CHAPTER 11 - JUVENILE PROCEEDINGS
ARTICLE 1 - JUVENILE PROCEEDINGS
PART 6 - DEPRIVATION
§ 15-11-55 - Disposition of deprived child; state's policy favoring stable placements
. Disposition of deprived child; state's policy favoring stable placements
(a) If the child is found to be a deprived child, the court may make any of the following orders of disposition best suited to the protection and physical, mental, and moral welfare of the child:
(1) Permit the child to remain with his or her parents, guardian, or other custodian, including a putative father, subject to conditions and limitations as the court prescribes, including supervision as directed by the court for the protection of the child;
(2) (A) Subject to conditions and limitations as the court prescribes, transfer temporary legal custody to any of the persons or entities described in this paragraph. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, such conditions and limitations shall include a provision that the court shall approve or direct the retransfer of the physical custody of the child back to the parents, guardian, or other custodian either upon the occurrence of specified circumstances or in the discretion of the court. Any such retransfer of physical custody may be made subject to such further conditions and limitations as the court prescribes, including supervision for the protection of the child. The persons or entities to whom or which temporary legal custody may be transferred shall include the following:
(i) Any individual including a putative father who, after study by the probation officer or other person or agency designated by the court, is found by the court to be qualified to receive and care for the child;
(ii) An agency or other private organization licensed or otherwise authorized by law to receive and provide care for the child;
(iii) Any public agency authorized by law to receive and provide care for the child; provided, however, that for the purpose of this Code section, the term "public agency" shall not include the Department of Juvenile Justice; or
(iv) An individual in another state with or without supervision by an appropriate officer under Code Section 15-11-89
(B) Except for dispositions pursuant to paragraph (1) of subsection (a) of Code Section 15-11-66
and Code Section 15-11-67
, within 30 days after the removal of a child from the custody of the parent or parents of the child, the Department of Human Services shall exercise due diligence to identify a parent or relative of the child or other persons who have demonstrated an ongoing commitment to the child. All identified adult relatives of the child, subject to exceptions due to family or domestic violence, shall be provided with notice:
(i) Specifying that the child has been or is being removed from parental custody;
(ii) Explaining the options the relative has to participate in the care and placement of the child and any options that may be lost by failing to respond to the notice;
(iii) Describing the process for becoming an approved foster family home and the additional services and supports available for children placed in approved foster homes; and
(iv) Describing any financial assistance for which the relative may be eligible.
(C) The results of such search and notification shall be documented in writing and filed with the court by the time of the first review. During such 30 day period, the court may order that the child be placed in the temporary legal custody of the Department of Human Services or any other appropriate entity or person.
(D) The court shall order in its preliminary disposition that the parent or other legal guardian of the child shall provide within ten days the names and addresses of all relatives and other persons who might be considered as possible placements for the child. The parties shall have an ongoing duty to supplement this information during the course of the case at each judicial review or citizen panel review. The court shall include in all published summons a notice that this information must be provided.
(E) The Council of Juvenile Court Judges shall be authorized to create uniform rules and forms to implement the provisions of this paragraph; or
(3) Without making any of the orders specified in paragraphs (1) and (2) of this subsection, transfer custody of the child to the court of another state exercising jurisdiction over children if authorized by and in accordance with Code Section 15-11-87
if the child is or is about to become a resident of that state.
(b) Unless a child found to be deprived is found also to be delinquent, such child shall not be committed to or confined in an institution or other facility designed or operated for the benefit of delinquent children.
(c) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the court after transferring temporary legal custody of a child to the Division of Family and Children Services within the Department of Human Services may at any time conduct sua sponte a judicial review of the current placement plan being provided to said child. After its review the court may order the division to comply with the current placement plan, order the division to devise a new placement plan within available division resources, or make any other order relative to placement or custody outside the Department of Human Services as the court finds to be in the best interest of the child. Placement or a change of legal custody by the court outside the Department of Human Services shall relieve the department of further responsibility for the child so placed.
(d) The policy of this state is that children in the custody of the Division of Family and Children Services should have stable placements. Not less than five days in advance of any placement change, the division shall notify the court, a child who is 14 years of age or older, the child's parents, guardian, or other custodian, and any attorney of record of such change in the location of the child's placement while the child is in the division's custody; provided, however, that if the child's health or welfare may be endangered by any delay in changing the child's placement, only the court and any attorney of record shall be notified of such placement change within 24 hours of such change. A child who is 14 years of age or older, the child's parents, guardian, or other custodian, and any attorney of record may request a hearing with regard to the child's case plan or the permanency plan in order for the court to consider the change in the location of the child's placement and any changes to the case plan or permanency plan resulting from the child's change in placement location. Such hearing shall be held within five days of receiving notice of a change in the location of the child's placement and prior to any such placement change, unless the child's health or welfare may be endangered by any delay in changing the child's placement. At the hearing to consider the child's case plan and permanency plan, the court shall consider the case plan and permanency plan recommendations made by the division, including a recommendation as to the location of the placement of the child, and shall make findings of fact upon which the court relied in determining to reject or accept the case plan or permanency plan and the recommendations made by the division, including the location of the child's placement. If the court rejects the recommendations of the division, the court shall demonstrate that the division's recommendations were considered and explain why it did not follow the recommendations. If the court rejects the division's case plan and permanency plan recommendations, including the change in the location of the placement of the child, the court may order the division to devise a new case plan and permanency plan recommendation, including a new recommendation as to the location of the child within the resources of the department, or make any other order relative to placement or custody outside the Department of Human Services as the court finds to be in the best interest of the child and consistent with this subsection. Placement or a change of legal custody by the court outside the Department of Human Services shall relieve the department of further responsibility for the child so placed.
(e) A juvenile court shall not be required to make an order of disposition pursuant to this Code section regarding a child who is discharged from a facility in which the child was hospitalized or habilitated pursuant to Chapter 3, 4, or 7 of Title 37 unless the child is to be discharged into the physical custody of any person who had such custody when the court made its most recent finding that such child was deprived.
(f) If a child is found to be a deprived child and the deprivation is found to have been the result of alcohol or other drug abuse by a parent or guardian, as specified in subsection (b) of Code Section 15-11-54
, and the court orders transfer of temporary legal custody of the child, as provided in paragraph (2) of subsection (a) of this Code section, the court is authorized to further order that legal custody of the child may not be transferred back to the child's custodian or guardian whose abuse of alcohol or another drug resulted in the child's deprivation unless such person undergoes substance abuse treatment and random substance abuse screenings and those screenings remain negative for a period of no less than six consecutive months.
Graham Syfert - Jacksonville Lawyer