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Arizona ruling says courts must decide returns of kids to parents

PHOENIX — The Arizona Supreme Court said juvenile courts cannot delegate
to state officials the decision whether it’s in a child’s best interests to
reunite children and their parents.

The court ruled unanimously Monday in a Pima County case involving five
children taken into state custody on grounds that the parents were using drugs
and that the children were being neglected.

A judge ruled that state officials had legal care, custody and control of the
children and didn’t have to request a court hearing before returning them to
their parents.

However, the justices said state law and court rules both require court
proceedings to determine whether returning children to their parents is in the
best interest of the children, including whether it would put them at
substantial risk.


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