(b) Pro Se Youth. If a child seeks to file such a petition without counsel, the clerk shall refer the child to his or her attorney or to the dependency court, which will enter an order directing the King County Department of Public Defense to assign counsel who was previously assigned to the youth under the dependency case number or to assign new counsel if the youth does not have a dependency attorney. The petition shall indicate the case designation of the dependency case and the clerk shall assign the same designation to the reinstatement case. Appointed counsel shall serve as counsel for the reinstatement case and the dependency case.
(c) Case Schedule. Upon filing of the petition, the clerk shall assign a new case number and generate a case schedule and provide a copy to the attorney for the child. A threshold hearing shall be scheduled before the juvenile court dependency calendar.
(1) In addition to service of process, counsel for the child shall deliver a copy of the petition and supporting documents and the case schedule to the Department of Social and Health Services social worker assigned to the dependency case and shall provide a copy to the CASA or GAL, if any, for the dependency case. Delivery to the CASA can be to the CASA program office. Counsel shall deliver a copy of the petition to the Office of the Attorney General by mail, facsimile or e-mail.
(2) The Department of Social and Health Services shall deliver a copy of the petition and case schedule to the child’s former parent whose parental rights are the subject of the petition, any parent whose rights have not been terminated, the child’s current foster parent, relative caregiver, guardian or custodian, and the child’s tribe, if applicable.
(e) Concurrent Dependency Reviews. Any dependency review or permanency planning hearing scheduled for the dependency matter shall be heard by the dependency judge or the judge to whom the dependency judge assigns the reinstatement action. An order relative to the dependency review or permanency plan will be entered at both the hearing on the merits and the six month review hearing, in addition to the orders on the reinstatement of parental rights. The clerk shall cross-file orders from these hearings in both the dependency case and the reinstatement case.
(f) Threshold Hearing.
(1) At the threshold hearing, the court will determine, prima facie, the parent or parents’ apparent fitness and interest in reinstatement of parental rights.
(2) The court shall also determine whether the best interests of the child may be served by reinstatement of parental rights.
(3) If the court concludes that the case should go forward, then it shall immediately hold a pretrial conference, and set a discovery schedule. If the judicial officer concludes that the matter should not go forward, then the hearing on the merits already set before the designated dependency judge shall be stricken, and the petition shall be dismissed.
(g) Hearing on the Merits. At the hearing on the merits, if the court conditionally grants the petition, the court shall continue the case for six months during which time the child shall be placed in the custody of the parent or parents.
(h) Hearing on Final Review. At the six month hearing, if the court finds that the child’s placement with the parent or parents has been successful, the court shall enter an order reinstating parental rights and shall dismiss the dependency.
[Adopted effective December 11, 2007; formerly LJuCR 4.6, renumbered and amended September 2, 2013.]