TITLE 40
Human services

CHAPTER 40-11
Abused and Neglected Children

SECTION 40-11-7.1


§ 40-11-7.1 Family court proceedings.

(a) The family court shall, upon the filing of an ex parte petition, hereunder, immediately take any action it deems necessary or appropriate for the protection of the child, or children, suspected of being abused or neglected, including the removal of the child, or children, from the custody of the parent or parents, or other person suspected of the abuse or neglect.

(b) A hearing on the petition shall be held within seven (7) days from the filing thereof, for the court to:

(1) Advise the parent or parents or other person having care of the child of the allegations contained in the petition;

(2) Enter either a denial or admission of the allegations contained in the petition;

(3) Assure that a guardian ad litem and/or a court appointed special advocate has been appointed to represent the child;

(4) Appoint an attorney to represent the parent or parents or any other person having care of the child alleged to have abused or neglected a child when the parent or custodian is unable to afford representation, as determined by the court;

(5) Advise the parent or parents or any other person having care of the child of his or her right to a probable cause hearing on the ex parte petition to be held as soon as practicable but no later than ten (10) days from the date of the request;

(6) Make inquiry of the mother of the child to determine the identity of the biological father of the child, if necessary;

(7) In the event that a person named as a putative father appears and denies that he is the biological father of the child, the court shall direct that any such putative father execute a written denial of paternity setting forth the implications of such denial in a form to be adopted by the family court in accordance with the provisions of this section. Execution of such a document by the putative father shall constitute prima facie evidence of his denial of paternity. Upon execution of the denial of paternity form, the court shall find that the department has no duty to make reasonable efforts to strengthen and encourage the relationship between the child and that putative father and the lack of such efforts may not be cited for any purpose by the putative father in any future proceeding conducted pursuant to the provisions of this chapter, the provisions of title 15 chapter 7 or title 15 chapter 8;

(8) Make any interim orders in its discretion respecting the rights of the child.

(c) The family court, upon identification of an alleged biological father by the mother of the child, shall order service of the petition and notice of hearing date to be made upon him in accordance with the Rules of Juvenile Proceedings.

(1) If an alleged putative father appears at the hearing or appears at any subsequent hearing and denies paternity, the court shall direct that any such putative father execute a written denial of paternity setting forth the implications of such denial in a form to be adopted by the family court in accordance with the provisions of this section. Execution of such a document by the putative father shall constitute prima facie evidence of his denial of paternity. Upon execution of the denial of paternity form, the court shall make a finding that the department has no duty to make reasonable efforts to strengthen and encourage the relationship between the child and that putative father and the lack of such efforts may not be cited for any purpose by the putative father in any future proceeding conducted pursuant to the provisions of this chapter, the provisions of title 15 chapter 7 or the provisions of title 15 chapter 8.

(2) If an alleged putative father appears and neither admits nor denies paternity, the department of children, youth, and families shall, within five (5) days, refer the putative father to the department of human services for a determination of paternity in accordance with title 15 chapter 8.

(3) If a putative father, having been duly served with notice, fails to appear, the court shall find that the department has no duty to make reasonable efforts to strengthen and encourage the relationship between the child and the putative father and the lack of such efforts may not be cited for any purpose in any future proceedings conducted pursuant to the provisions of this chapter, the provisions of title 15 chapter 7 or the provisions of title 15 chapter 8.

(d) Execution of a written denial of paternity pursuant to this chapter shall have no legal effect on paternity or child support proceedings commenced under title 15 chapter 8.

(e) At the probable cause hearing credible hearsay evidence may, in the discretion of the court, be admissible. The petition may submit a signed physician's report which, while not conclusive, shall constitute prima facie evidence to support continued detention of the child pursuant to the ex parte order pending a trial on the merits.

History of Section.
(P.L. 1979, ch. 248, § 10; P.L. 1981, ch. 324, § 1; P.L. 1985, ch. 98, § 2; P.L. 1996, ch. 45, § 1.)