Can we adopt our 3 grandchildren after 7 years of permanent guardianship?

Seeking to adopt the children means going back to dependency court and being able to meet all legal requirements to have the parents’ rights terminated. DCF rarely reopens permanent guardianship cases. However, you can petition the court seeking to adopt. Discuss your case with an attorney well versed in dependency law before making any decisions. There is a lot to be considered.


Can DCF reunify child with a mother who has two open felony charges?

DCF has a responsibility to inform the court of the mother’s charges. The mother’s unresolved criminal charges will make a difference if there is a possibility of incarceration. It does not make sense to reunify today only to remove tomorrow because the parent has a sentence to serve. It is possible that DCF is keeping a reunification goal while waiting to see the result of criminal charges.


How do I terminate parental rights for a registered sex offender who is currently in prison for 16 years?

You can file a petition to have the father’s rights involuntarily terminated. DCF may not get involved as the child’s father is incarcerated and does not have access to the child. Retain an attorney well versed in Florida dependency law to help you through the legal process.


What is a safety plan with CPS in Florida?

Florida Department of Children & Families Child Protection Services are concerned about child safety. A voluntary safety plan is an agreement with requirements for parents to engage in services to address child safety concerns. The safety plan may include an agreement for parents to have restricted or supervised contact with children until services are complete. Safety plans often avoid legal action to remove children from parents through the dependency court process.


What is considered child neglect?

Depriving a child of necessary food, clothing, shelter or medical treatment, or allowing a child to live in an environment that causes or may cause a child’s physical, mental, or emotional health to be significantly impaired is considered child neglect. Discuss your concerns with an attorney, do not wait for irreparable harm to occur.


My son died, and the mother has two child abuse cases. What can I do to help my grandchildren?

You should discuss your case with an attorney. There may be action you can take to ensure the safety and well-being of the children whether DCF is involved or not.


Can I petition for removal of a child from an unsafe home and for legal guardianship if I’m not next of kin?

You can be the petitioner in a dependency case seeking to be the custodian, permanent guardian or possibly adoptive parent of the child. Any person with knowledge can petition the court. While most dependency cases are initiated by the Florida Department of Children & Families (DCF), it does not have to be DCF that files the case.  

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Is it legal to use a belt on children for discipline in Florida?

While there is a difference between appropriate punishment and abuse, use of a belt or other object for corporal (physical) punishment can easily become abusive. Parenting is challenging, but positive parenting methods can eliminate risk of abuse to a child.  Parenting information and education is readily available.  If you know of a child who is subject to corporal punishment by a parent, step-parent or other person in the home it is a good idea to take a closer look and possibly action to ensure the child’s safety.


Can a foster parent file a Petition for Termination of Parental Rights?

You do have the right to file a petition for termination of parental rights. I strongly advise consulting with an attorney well versed with Florida dependency and termination of parental rights cases to review the case and evaluate your options.


Can I file for termination of parental rights (TPR) while my daughter’s bio dad is in prison?

Whether you can terminate the father’s parental rights depends on the nature of his conviction and the length of his sentence. Adoption by your fiancé is possible if the father’s rights are terminated, and your fiancé becomes your husband. If this is a serious consideration, begin by consulting with an attorney experienced in such matters.