N. M. S. A. 1978, § 32A-4-22
West's New Mexico Statutes Annotated Currentness
Chapter 32A. Children's Code (Refs & Annos)
 Article 4. Child Abuse and Neglect (Refs & Annos)

§ 32A-4-22. Disposition of adjudicated abused or neglected child

A. If not held in conjunction with the adjudicatory hearing, the dispositional hearing shall be commenced within thirty days after the conclusion of the adjudicatory hearing.  At the conclusion of the dispositional hearing, the court shall make and include in the dispositional judgment its findings on the following:

(1) the interaction and interrelationship of the child with the child's parent, siblings and any other person who may significantly affect the child's best interest;

(2) the child's adjustment to the child's home, school and community;

(3) the mental and physical health of all individuals involved;

(4) the wishes of the child as to the child's placement;

(5) the wishes of the child's parent, guardian or custodian as to the child's custody;

(6) whether there exists a relative of the child or other individual who, after study by the department, is found to be qualified to receive and care for the child;

(7) the availability of services recommended in the treatment plan prepared as a part of the predisposition study in accordance with the provisions of Section 32A-4-21 NMSA 1978;

(8) the ability of the parent to care for the child in the home so that no harm will result to the child;

(9) whether reasonable efforts were used by the department to prevent removal of the child from the home prior to placement in substitute care and whether reasonable efforts were used to attempt reunification of the child with the natural parent;

(10) whether reasonable efforts were made by the department to place siblings in custody together, unless such joint placement would be contrary to the safety or well-being of any of the siblings in custody, and whether any siblings not jointly placed have been provided reasonable visitation or other ongoing interaction, unless visitation or other ongoing interaction would be contrary to the safety or well-being of any of the siblings;  and

(11) if the child is an Indian child, whether the placement preferences set forth in the federal Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978  [FN1] or the placement preferences of the child's Indian tribe have been followed and whether the Indian child's treatment plan provides for maintaining the Indian child's cultural ties.  When placement preferences have not been followed, good cause for noncompliance shall be clearly stated and supported.

B. If a child is found to be neglected or abused, the court may enter its judgment making any of the following dispositions to protect the welfare of the child:

(1) permit the child to remain with the child's parent, guardian or custodian, subject to those conditions and limitations the court may prescribe;

(2) place the child under protective supervision of the department;  or

(3) transfer legal custody of the child to any of the following:

(a) the noncustodial parent, if it is found to be in the child's best interest;

(b) an agency responsible for the care of neglected or abused children;  or

(c) a child-placement agency willing and able to assume responsibility for the education, care and maintenance of the child and licensed or otherwise authorized by law to receive and provide care for the child.

C. If a child is found to be neglected or abused, in its dispositional judgment the court shall also order the department to implement and the child's parent, guardian or custodian to cooperate with any treatment plan approved by the court.  Reasonable efforts shall be made to preserve and reunify the family, with the paramount concern being the child's health and safety.  The court may determine that reasonable efforts are not required to be made when the court finds that:

(1) the efforts would be futile;  or

(2) the parent, guardian or custodian has subjected the child to aggravated circumstances.

D. Any parent, guardian or custodian of a child who is placed in the legal custody of the department or other person pursuant to Subsection B of this section shall have reasonable rights of visitation with the child as determined by the court, unless the court finds that the best interests of the child preclude any visitation.

E. The court may order reasonable visitation between a child placed in the custody of the department and the child's siblings or any other person who may significantly affect the child's best interest, if the court finds the visitation to be in the child's best interest.

F. Unless a child found to be neglected or abused is also found to be delinquent, the child shall not be confined in an institution established for the long-term care and rehabilitation of delinquent children.

G. When the court vests legal custody in an agency, institution or department, the court shall transmit with the dispositional judgment copies of the clinical reports, the predisposition study and report and any other information it has pertinent to the care and treatment of the child.

H. Prior to a child being placed in the custody or protective supervision of the department, the department shall be provided with reasonable oral or written notification and an opportunity to be heard.  At any hearing held pursuant to this subsection, the department may appear as a party.

I. When a child is placed in the custody of the department, the department shall investigate whether the child is eligible for enrollment as a member of an Indian tribe and, if so, the department shall pursue the enrollment on the child's behalf.

J. When the court determines pursuant to Subsection C of this section that no reasonable efforts at reunification are required, the court shall conduct, within thirty days, a permanency hearing as described in Section 32A-4-25.1 NMSA 1978.  Reasonable efforts shall be made to implement and finalize the permanency plan in a timely manner.
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