So, in a few days, we'll be having a permanency hearing on L and O's Case.
They're just a week shy of having been in care for 12 months, and great care was taken to ensure that this hearing would be before that 12 month anniversary.
At the last hearing, the parents were sternly told that they needed to have done xyz by this date and that they were lucky there was family to be considered at the permanency hearing because otherwise they'd be looking at TPR if they hadn't done said xyz.(That family is Paternal Aunt, by the way, who no one has mentioned since.)
I'm told they will most likely not be sent home the day of the hearing, even if the judge decides at the hearing that it's time to reunify. (We have yet to have a visit longer than 2 hours or a visit that isn't supervised.) I'm told that there will be transitional visits, with the goal of having them home full-time by the time school starts. But I've heard that plan before with the move to Paternal Aunt at the end of the school year.
I'm told no one thinks BioMom is ready to handle parenting 3 children on her own. I'm told that's not a good enough reason to keep the kids in care because there aren't any "safety concern" reasons. (Her drug tests are clean, she's maintained employment, taken all her required classes, obtained housing....) I guess having a single parent that no one thinks is ready for it isn't a "safety concern." I suppose we have to hold our breath and wait to either be proven wrong or watch her fail. (BioDad is out of state and has been denied as a placement. He's still showing up to court every time it happens, but he is not a serious contender for custody and the relationship between him and BioMom is not one of mutual support for the good of the children.)
I'm told--by several different people involved in the case--that they won't be surprised if the kids end up back in care again in a few weeks or months. But that's not a "safety concern"?? That's "permanency"?
I don't know what to expect from this hearing. I don't know what to hope for. Some days I think BioMom has worked so hard and so clearly loves her kids that it's time to get them back to her. Other days I think they deserve permanency that will last and wonder if Paternal Aunt would be better at that. On really bad days, I wish they could have a clean slate and an entirely new family to get them out of the drama circus that appears to touch every single extended family member we've every heard of.
Mostly, I'm trying not to hope for anything specific and just wait and see.