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Supreme Court Rules

Section/Rule:124.07
Subject: Rule 124 - Rules of Practice and Procedure in Juvenile and Family Court Divisions of The Circuit Court - Part II. Rules Relating to Child Abuse and Neglect Proceedings - Custody - Hearings Publication / Adopted Date:May 20, 2009
Topic:Dispositional HearingRevised / Effective Date:January 1, 2010


124.07 DISPOSITIONAL HEARING
a. A dispositional hearing in a proceeding under subdivision (1) of subsection 1 of section 211.031, RSMo, shall be held within the time frame in Rule 124.01a(3).
b. Such a dispositional hearing may be held separate from or immediately following an adjudication hearing held pursuant to Rule 124.06.
c. At such a dispositional hearing, the court shall receive evidence and, in accordance with the best interests of the juvenile, determine and make findings on the legal and physical custody of the juvenile and on the services required to reunify the family. The hearing shall be held on the record. The court may take judicial notice of the court’s file. The rules of evidence do not apply. All parties and the guardian ad litem shall be afforded the opportunity to testify, present evidence, cross-examine witnesses, and present arguments of law and fact and arguments concerning the weight, credibility and effect of the evidence.
d. At such a dispositional hearing, the court shall admit the social study into evidence and additionally receive:
(1) a report on the attempts of the children’s division to identify and locate any biological parent whose identity or location is unknown unless such efforts have been excused by the court;
(2) the recommendations of the children’s division and the juvenile officer;
(3) evidence regarding the recommendations of the children’s division and the juvenile officer;
(4) evidence concerning the need for the children’s division to engage in reasonable efforts to reunify the family; and
(5) the recommendations of the guardian ad litem and court appointed special advocate.
e. At such a dispositional hearing, the court shall make findings on whether the children’s division is required to engage in reasonable efforts to reunify the family and:
(1) shall enter an order for the legal and physical custody of the juvenile;
(2) may order the reasonable efforts required of the children’s division to reunify the family;
(3) may order the efforts required of the parties, other than the children’s division, to reunify the family; and
(4) shall schedule a dispositional review hearing or, when appropriate, a permanency hearing within the time frames in Rules 124.01b(1) and 124.01b(2) respectively.
f. At such a dispositional hearing, the court shall determine and make findings on whether:
(1) the children’s division made, or is deemed to have made, reasonable efforts to prevent or eliminate the need for removal of the juvenile from the home; and
(2) continuation of the juvenile in the home is contrary to the welfare of the juvenile.
Comment
The purpose of the dispositional hearing is to determine: (1) the legal and physical custody of the juvenile, and (2) whether the children’s division is required to engage in reasonable efforts to reunify the family and, if so, the reasonable efforts necessary to effect reunification.
For a juvenile in the legal custody of the children’s division in a proceeding under subsection 1 of section 211.031, RSMo, to be eligible for Title IV-E funding, the Adoption and Safe Families Act requires a judicial determination:
(1) in the first court order that removes the juvenile from the home whether continuation of the juvenile in the home is contrary to the welfare of the juvenile; and
(2) no later than 60 days from the date of the removal of the juvenile from the home whether reasonable efforts were made, or deemed to have been made, to prevent or eliminate the need for removal of the juvenile from the home.
The Adoption and Safe Families Act requires, upon a judicial determination pursuant to section 211.183.7, RSMo, that the children’s division is not required to engage in reasonable efforts to reunify the family, that a permanency hearing be held within 30 days and, in the absence of an applicable statutory exception, that a petition for termination of parental rights be filed within 60 days of such determination.
The Adoption and Safe Families Act requires a judicial determination within 12 months of the date a juvenile is considered to have entered foster care of the reasonable efforts of the children’s division to finalize the permanency plan that is in effect. Therefore, a permanency hearing must be scheduled if insufficient time exists to conduct a dispositional review hearing before a permanency hearing must be held.
Under section 210.565, RSMo, grandparents who request consideration are given preference and first consideration for out-of-home placement, and a juvenile in out-of-home placement shall be placed with a relative whenever such placement is not contrary to the best interests of the juvenile.
Under section 211.177, RSMo, grandparents have a right to intervene if custody of a grandchild is in issue unless the court determines that such intervention is contrary to the best interests of the juvenile.
When placing a juvenile outside Missouri, including placing with a parent or relative, or terminating jurisdiction over a juvenile placed outside Missouri, in a proceeding under subdivision (1) of subsection 1 of section 211.031, RSMo, the court and all parties must comply with the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children. See section 210.620, RSMo.
Cross-reference: Sections 211.032.4, 210.127.2, 211.183.7, 211.447.2, 211.447.3, 211.447.4, RSMo.
(Adopted May 20, 2009, eff. Jan. 1, 2010.)