Removals (i.e. Placement Changes)
The purpose of this page is to inform caregivers of how to protect and advocate for the foster children/youth in their care when the county placing agency plans to remove (i.e. change the placement of) a dependent child/youth to another foster home.
If a placement change becomes necessary, minimizing the trauma experienced by the child/youth from the move should be the primary concern to all parties involved.
For more information about transition planning, please visit our Transitions page.
Before the .26 Hearing
Prior to the Welfare and Institutions Code Section 366.26 hearing, caregivers are entitled to 14 Days Written Notice of Intent to Remove. There is an additional requirement that the county placing agency implement a placement preservation strategy in an attempt to maintain the current placement of the child/youth. Welfare and Institutions Code section 16010.7
Furthermore, California Department of Social Services Regulation 31-020.1 provides individuals objecting to the change of placement the rights to request an intra-agency grievance review hearing.
For more information about 14 Days Notice of Removal and grievance procedures, please click here.
*NOTE: Unless the child is in imminent danger, he/she SHALL remain with the foster parent(s), pending decision of the agency director, when removal is the basis for a complaint. California DSS Manual 31-020.7
If the .26 Hearing has been Set or Parental Rights are Terminated
Once the caregiver has Prospective Adoptive Parent status (i.e. the child/youth has been with the caregiver for 6 months or longer and parental rights are terminated), the county placing agency is required to serve a JV-323 Notice of Removal prior to a placement change. If a JV-325 Objection to Removal is filed by the prospective adoptive parent, the matter will be set for a court hearing at which the county has the burden of proof to show that the proposed placement change is in the best interest of the child.
*NOTE: even if you have not been formally designated as the Prospective Adoptive Parent, you have the right to written notice of intent to move the child/youth in your care, and the right to object and request a hearing if you meet the threshold criteria for Prospective Adoptive Parent. The Court will decide at the hearing whether or not you will be designated as the Prospective Adoptive Parent. A caregiver who qualifies but has not yet been designated a Prospective Adoptive Parent must prepare and file both the JV-321 and the JV-325. California Rule of Court Rule 5.727