Sign In

Initial Dispositional Hearing
(MCR 3.973/MCL 712a.18)

If the court determines at the adjudicatory hearing that the child is within the court’s jurisdiction (following trial, plea of admission or of no contest), the case moves to disposition. The purpose of the dispositional phase is to determine what measures the court will take with respect to a child properly within its jurisdiction and, when applicable, against any adult. The dispositional phase includes the disposition, dispositional review hearings, permanency planning hearings, and termination of parental rights procedures.  The initial dispositional hearing may be conducted immediately following the adjudicatory hearing.

During the dispositional phase of an abuse and neglect case, the Juvenile Code requires the agency to engage the family in developing a case service plan. The case service plan is developed to achieve permanency for the child. Depending on the circumstances that led to court jurisdiction, the plan to achieve permanency will either seek to reunite the child and family or, in cases of serious abuse, seek an alternative permanent home setting. 

A judge or attorney referee may conduct an initial dispositional hearing.  Before the court enters the order of disposition, it must consider the case service plan and any information offered concerning the child. To remove a child from home, or maintain the child out of the home, the court must make a finding that reasonable efforts were made to prevent the child’s removal from the home or to rectify the conditions that caused the child’s removal. In its initial placement decision, the court will consider both the risk of harm presented by conditions in the parent’s home and the potential effects of separation for the child. In addition, in cases where out-of-home placement is deemed necessary, the law requires DHS to place a greater emphasis on determining whether there is an appropriate relative with whom the child can be placed as an alternative to foster care.


 Disposition Hearing Toolkit

Notice of Hearing (procedural issue)
Time Requirements (procedural issue)
Applicable Rules of Evidence (procedural issues)
Case Service Plans (procedural issues)
Orders of Disposition (procedural issues)
Review of Referee Recommendations (procedural issue)
Roles and Responsibilities
Statutes, Court Rules, DHS Policies
MJI Child Protective Proceedings Benchbook -- Intial Disposition
Benchcard -- judicial

 Publications & Administrative Memos

Parents Attorney Protocol
Michigan Absent Parent Protocol
Livingston County Parent Handbook
Entire Library
Psychotropic Medication and Children in Foster Care

 Court Forms

Order of Disposition (JC17)
Waiver of Summons/Notice of Hearing (JC23)
Request and Order for Review of Referee Recommendation (JC42)

 Training Information

Archived Materials and Upcoming Programs