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Section/Rule:124.06
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:Adjudication HearingRevised / Effective Date:January 1, 2010


124.06 ADJUDICATION HEARING
a. An adjudication 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(2).
b. At such an adjudication hearing, the court shall first determine whether:
(1) a guardian ad litem has been appointed for the juvenile;
(2) a court appointed special advocate should be appointed for the juvenile;
(3) the parents, guardian or custodian of the juvenile are entitled to appointed counsel;
(4) a parent, guardian or custodian requires a guardian ad litem because of age or mental status; and
(5) the parties have been served or, if not, whether the juvenile officer has made a reasonable and diligent attempt to locate and serve each absent parent.
c. At such an adjudication hearing, the court shall determine what allegations in the petition or motion to modify are admitted and receive evidence on the allegations that have not been admitted. The hearing shall be held on the record. The court may take judicial notice of the court’s file. The rules of evidence shall 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. Upon finding that the allegations in the petition or motion to modify are neither admitted nor proved, the court shall enter judgment denying the petition and, unless it has prior and continuing jurisdiction:
(1) order that the juvenile be returned to the juvenile’s parent, guardian or custodian; e. Upon finding that any allegation in the petition or motion to modify is admitted or proved, the court shall:
(1) make findings on the allegations in the petition or motion to modify that are admitted or proved;
(2) make a finding whether the juvenile is in need of care and treatment under chapter 211, RSMo; and
(3) enter an order whether the court has jurisdiction over the juvenile.
f. If the dispositional hearing does not immediately follow the adjudication hearing, the court shall:
(1) continue or, if appropriate, amend any protective custody order;
(2) order the date for submission of the social study to be prepared pursuant to Rule 118.01; and
(3) schedule the dispositional hearing within the time frame in Rule 124.01a(3).
g. Additionally, if the dispositional hearing does not immediately follow the adjudication 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 adjudication hearing is to determine whether the allegations in the petition are established. The allegations in the petition are proved only by evidence that is at least clear and convincing.
Under section 210.127.1, RSMo, the children’s division is required to utilize all reasonable and effective means available to conduct a diligent search for any biological parent of a juvenile whose identity or location is unknown.
The lack of service on a parent, guardian or custodian does not deprive the court of jurisdiction to proceed. See Rule 114.01e.
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.
Rule 124.06g recognizes that, if the dispositional hearing does not immediately follow the adjudication hearing, the court must include in the adjudication order whichever of these determinations has not been previously made.
Cross-reference: Section 211.032.4, RSMo.
(Adopted May 20, 2009, eff. Jan. 1, 2010.)