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  • PART I ADMINISTRATION OF THE GOVERNMENT
  • TITLE XVII PUBLIC WELFARE
  • CHAPTER 119 PROTECTION AND CARE OF CHILDREN, AND PROCEEDINGS AGAINST THEM
  • Section 39G Hearing; determination of child requiring assistance

Section 39G. At any hearing to determine whether a child and family require assistance, said child and the child’s attorney shall be present and the parent, legal guardian or custodian shall be given an opportunity to be heard. The petitioner and any party may file a motion to dismiss the request for assistance at any time prior to a hearing to determine the disposition of a request for assistance. The judge, upon a filing of a motion to dismiss, may order that the request for assistance be dismissed upon a showing that the dismissal is in the best interests of the child or if all parties agree to the dismissal. A probation officer may at any time recommend to the court that the request for assistance be dismissed upon a showing that dismissal is in the best interests of the child.

Upon making a finding that a child requires assistance after a fact finding hearing, the court shall convene and may participate in a conference of the probation officer who conducted the preliminary inquiry, a representative from a family resource center or other community-based services program, if involved with the family, the petitioner, a representative from the child’s school, the child’s parent, legal guardian or custodian, the child and the child’s attorney, a representative of the department of children and families, if involved with the family, and any other person who may be helpful in determining the most effective assistance available to be offered to the child and family. The probation officer shall present written recommendations and other persons at the conference may present written recommendations to the court to advise the court on appropriate treatment and services for the child and family, appropriate placement for the child, and appropriate conditions and limitations of such placement.

At the conference and subsequent hearing on disposition, the child and the child’s attorney shall be present and the parents, legal guardian or custodian, and the child and petitioner shall be given an opportunity to be heard. The court may receive evidence as to the best disposition from all persons who participate in the conference and any other person who may be helpful in determining an appropriate disposition.

If the court finds the statements in the application for assistance have been proved at the hearing beyond a reasonable doubt, it may determine the child to be in need of assistance. Upon making such determination, the court, taking into consideration the physical and emotional welfare of the child, may make any of the following orders of disposition:

(a) subject to any conditions and limitations the court may prescribe, including provision for medical, psychological, psychiatric, educational, occupational and social services, and for supervision by a court clinic or by any public or private organization providing counseling or guidance services, permit the child to remain with his parents, legal guardian or custodian;

(b) subject to such conditions and limitations as the court may prescribe, including, but not limited to provisions for those services described in clause (a), place the child in the care of any of the following:

(1) a relative, probation officer, or other adult individual who, after inquiry by the probation officer or other person or agency designated by the court, is found to be qualified to receive and care for the child; (2) a private charitable or childcare agency or other private organization, licensed or otherwise authorized by law to receive and provide care for such children; or (3) a private organization which, after inquiry by the probation officer or other person or agency designated by the court, is found to be qualified to receive and care for the child; or

(c) subject to the provisions of sections 32 and 33 and with such conditions and limitations as the court may recommend, place the child in the custody of the department of children and families. At the same time, the court shall consider the provisions of section 29C and shall make the written certification and determinations required by said section 29C. The department shall give due consideration to the recommendations of the court. The department may not refuse out-of-home placement of a child if the placement is recommended by the court provided that the court has made the written certification and determinations required by said section 29C. The department shall direct the type and length of such out-of-home placement. The department shall give due consideration to the requests of the child that the child be placed outside the home of a parent or guardian where there is a history of abuse and neglect in the home by the parent or guardian.

If the family or child are directed by the court to participate in treatment or services which are eligible for coverage by an insurance plan or other third-party payer, payment for such services shall not be denied if the treatment or services otherwise meet the criteria for coverage.

A child who is the subject of an application for assistance may not be confined in shackles or similar restraints or in a court lockup facility in connection with any proceedings under sections 39E to 39I, inclusive. A child who is the subject of an application for assistance shall not be placed in a locked facility or any facility designated or operated for juveniles who are alleged to be delinquent or who have been adjudicated delinquent. Such child may, however, be placed in a facility which operates as a group home to provide therapeutic care for juveniles, regardless of whether juveniles adjudicated delinquent are also provided care in such facility.

Any order of disposition pursuant to this section shall continue in force for not more than 120 days; provided, however, that the court which entered the order may, after a hearing, extend its duration for up to 3 additional periods, each such period not to exceed 90 days if the court finds that the purposes of the order have not been accomplished and that such extension would be reasonably likely to further those purposes.

No order shall continue in effect after the eighteenth birthday of a child named in an application for assistance authorized to be filed by a parent, a legal guardian or custodian or a police officer or after the sixteenth birthday of a child named in a petition authorized to be filed by a school district.