Department for Community Based Services

Standards of Practice Online Manual

11.28 Dispositional Hearing

Cabinet for Health and Family Services

Department for Community Based Services
Division of Protection and Permanency
Standards of Practice Online Manual
Chapter 11-CPS Court
11.28 Dispositional Hearing

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Legal Authority/Introduction



The SSW:

  1. Follows procedures outlined in SOP 11.26 Admissions and Agreements when parties admit the allegation of the petition or stipulate to a set of facts for the adjudication; 
  2. Requests service providers as needed to be witnesses if there are factual disputes concerning these issues due to the fact that the dispositional hearing determines whether the cabinet has made reasonable efforts to avoid the need for placement and what services are needed;
  3. Notifies other required participants when necessary of the dispositional hearing to be present, to include:
    1. Parents whose rights have not been terminated, including putative fathers;
    2. Relatives with legal standing or other custodial adults;
    3. Attorney for parents;
    4. GAL for the child;
    5. CASA worker if one has been assigned; and
    6. Foster parents;
  4. Requests, as needed, the presence of individuals, to include the following, who may be called upon to care for the child or work with the family due to the fact that the dispositional hearing focuses on the future well-being of the child:
    1. Public health officials;
    2. Mental health professionals;
    3. Other service providers/community partners;
    4. Close family friends;
    5. Responsible relatives; and
    6. Personnel from any government agency in contact with the child or family;
  5. Submits a written pre-dispositional report three (3) days prior to the dispositional hearing, which may include:
    1. Summary of allegations;
    2. Statement of family changes that are needed to correct the problems necessitating state intervention, with timetables for accomplishing them;
    3. Summary of parent(s) living conditions and employment;
    4. Summary of parent(s) education;
    5. Summary of services currently being provided;
    6. Description of services to be provided to assist the family;
    7. Description of actions to be taken by parent(s) to correct the identified problems;
    8. Description of the child’s placement and where it is located;
    9. Proposed arrangements for visitation;
    10. Placement of the child’s siblings and, if they are to be apart, proposed arrangements for visitation;
    11. An appropriate long term plan for the child’s future; and
    12. Proposed child support.

Practice Guidance

  • Different witnesses may be required to address dispositional issues as opposed to the witnesses who were needed at the adjudication hearing.
  • Decisions at the dispositional hearing help the Cabinet, the SSW and parents develop an appropriate case plan to address the specific problems identified during adjudication, which necessitated state intervention with the family.
  • Effective dispositional proceedings enable the SSW and the judge to evaluate progress in the case and identify:
    • Where family problems clearly exist;
    • Appropriate services; and
    • Appropriate objectives and tasks.
  • A final court disposition is to be completed within forty-five (45) days of the removal of the child.


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