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This entry was published on 2014-09-22
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SECTION 1094
Initial appearance and preliminary proceedings
Family Court Act (FCT) CHAPTER 686, ARTICLE 10-C
§ 1094. Initial appearance and preliminary proceedings. (a) At the
initial appearance, the court shall:

(1) appoint an attorney to represent the child in accordance with
section two hundred forty-nine of this act, and appoint an attorney to
represent a parent, caretaker or interested adult in accordance with
paragraph (ix) of subdivision (a) of section two hundred sixty-two of
this act, if he or she is financially unable to obtain counsel;

(2) (i) if any parent, caretaker or interested adult enters an
appearance, determine whether the child may safely remain in or return
to his or her home and, if appropriate, order services to assist the
family toward that end; provided however, that such order shall not
include the provision of any service or assistance to the child and his
or her family which is not authorized or required to be made available
pursuant to the comprehensive annual services program plan then in
effect;

(ii) determine whether temporary care is necessary to avoid risk to
the child's life or health and whether it would be contrary to the
welfare of the child to continue in, or return to his or her own home,
and, if so, whether the child should be placed in the temporary care and
custody of a relative or other suitable person or in the temporary care
and custody of the commissioner of social services;

(iii) upon a determination that the child should be temporarily
placed:

(A) direct the petitioner to investigate whether there are any
parents, caretakers or interested adults not named in the petition or
any other relatives or other suitable persons with whom the child may
safely reside and, if so, direct the child to reside temporarily in
their care; and

(B) if a relative or other suitable person seeks approval to care for
the child as a foster parent, direct the petitioner to commence an
investigation into the home of such relative and thereafter approve such
relative or other suitable person, if qualified, as a foster parent;
provided, however, that if such home is found to be unqualified for
approval, the petitioner shall report such fact to the court forthwith
and, in the case of a relative who seeks approval to care for the child
as a foster parent, the relative may proceed in accordance with section
one thousand twenty-eight-a of this act.

(3) set a date certain for the fact finding and disposition hearing
pursuant to section one thousand ninety-five of this article and, if the
child is temporarily placed, set a date certain for the initial
permanency hearing pursuant to paragraph two of subdivision (a) of
section one thousand eighty-nine of this act. The date certain for the
initial permanency hearing shall be no later than eight months from the
date the social services official accepted care of the child;

(4) determine whether reasonable efforts were made prior to the
placement of the child into foster care to prevent or eliminate the need
for removal of the child from his or her home, and if such efforts were
not made whether the lack of such efforts were appropriate under the
circumstances; determine, where appropriate, if reasonable efforts were
made to make it possible for the child to remain in or return safely
home; and

(5) include the findings made pursuant to paragraphs one through four
of this subdivision in a written order.

(b) (1) Any parent or caretaker, or interested adult from whose care
the child has been removed, or the child's attorney may request a
hearing to determine whether a child who has been removed from his or
her home should be returned and, if so, whether services should be
ordered to facilitate such return; provided however, that such order
shall not include the provision of any service or assistance to the
child and his or her family which is not authorized or required to be
made available pursuant to the comprehensive annual services program
plan then in effect. Except for good cause shown, the hearing shall be
held within three court days of the request and shall not be adjourned.
The court shall grant the application for return of the child unless it
finds that the return presents an imminent risk to the child's life or
health. If imminent risk to the child is found, the court may make
orders in accordance with paragraph two of subdivision (a) of this
section, including, but not limited to, directions for investigations of
relatives or other suitable persons with whom the child may safely
reside.

(2) In determining whether temporary removal of the child is necessary
to avoid imminent risk to the child's life or health, the court shall
consider and determine in its order whether continuation in the child's
home would be contrary to the best interests of the child and where
appropriate, whether reasonable efforts were made prior to the date of
the hearing to prevent or eliminate the need for removal of the child
from the home and where appropriate, whether reasonable efforts were
made after removal of the child to make it possible for the child to
safely return home.

(3) If the court determines that reasonable efforts to prevent or
eliminate the need for removal of the child from the home were not made
but that the lack of such efforts was appropriate under the
circumstances, the court order shall include such a finding and the
basis for such finding.

(4) If the court determines that reasonable efforts to allow a child
to safely return home were not made subsequent to the removal of the
child but that the lack of such efforts was appropriate under the
circumstances, the court order shall include such a finding and the
basis for such finding.

(c) (1) The court may upon its own motion or the motion of any person,
deem a person not named in the petition who has a significant connection
to the child alleged to be destitute, a party to the proceeding, if such
person consents to being added as a party, and such action is
appropriate under the circumstances.

(2) If the court deems a person a party pursuant to paragraph (i) of
this subdivision and such person is not before the court, the court
shall cause a copy of the petition and a summons requiring such person
to appear in court on the return date be served on such person in
accordance with subdivision (d) of section one thousand ninety-three of
this article.

(d) The court may, if it deems appropriate, appoint counsel for an
interested adult or another person named as a party to the proceeding
pursuant to subdivision (c) of this section, if such adult or person is
financially unable to obtain counsel.