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I’ve had a DCF case before and tested positive for THC, if DCF gets called again do I have to take a drug test?

What DCF will do in your case depends on their assessment of abuse or neglect, or risk of abuse or neglect. Your history of drug use and past DCF case will be considered, as well as your current circumstances. Declining a drug test may leave DCF with no option but to remove your children and seek a court order at a hearing held within 24 hours of removal.

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How can I stop my ex from calling the Florida Abuse Hotline?

You cannot stop someone from making reports to the Florida Department of Children & Families Abuse Hotline. And, you cannot stop DCF from investigating reported allegations related to child safety or harm.

You can request a copy of the investigative summary that will provide information as to allegations and findings of the investigation. You will not receive the name of the person making a report to the child abuse hotline.  

You have the right to hire an attorney to assist you at any time.

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Do I have to complete a voluntary safety plan for a drug abuse evaluation and drug testing?

You risk having Florida DCF take legal action that may include removing children from you if you do not follow through and successfully complete the voluntary safety plan. You need to take this very seriously and address all child safety issues, including substance abuse, in the voluntary safety plan.

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A DCF child protection investigator has threatened to take my children. What can I do?

I would also advise you to consult with an attorney now. Do not wait for DCF to remove children and then seek counsel. Your actions at this time may determine whether the children are removed. Get some guidance from an attorney who has regular involvement with Florida Department of Children & Families (DCF) cases.

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Will DCF notify me when they close the investigation?

DCF should notify you by letter when your case is closed. There is no harm in reaching out to the investigator to check in, however investigations are usually open 45 to 60 days.

During the investigation no news is often good news. If there were greater concerns for child safety, it is likely you would be having more contact with the investigator. You may be asked to take another drug screen before they decide whether to take additional action or to close your case.

You have a right to obtain a summary of the investigation once it is closed.

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Can the Florida Department of Children & Families take my baby at birth?

Whether DCF removes your child at birth depends upon the risk assessment of the investigator considering your current circumstances and prior involvement with DCF. DCF will remove if they believe the newborn is at substantial risk of harm with you for any reason. You may want to consult with an attorney to further discuss your circumstances and develop a plan prior to your child’s birth.

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Is it illegal to sleep with my one year old in Florida?

Florida DCF will be concerned because of cases were co-sleeping with infants results in child death. Co-sleeping with is a leading cause of death for infants. A heightened concern exists where a parent uses marijuana, drugs and/or alcohol. Educate yourself on this issue, make sure your child is safe.

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Can DCF make me take drug classes and drug testing if there’s no proof of child abuse?

Assuming there is no court ordered drug testing, DCF can ask you to take drug tests but they cannot make you take the tests. However, if you refuse testing and there is information that suggests your use of drugs endangers the child, DCF may take legal action to remove the child and restrict your access to the child.

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If my case is closed can DCF take my new baby?

Even though your case is closed DCF will have notice of your giving birth, and they will send an investigator to see you and your newborn child. Whether they remove the child depends on their risk assessment given your past, and your current circumstances. How you interact with the investigator is important, you need to present well.

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I lost custody of my children and want to go back to New Jersey where I have family that can take them. Can I leave the State of Florida when DCF has my children?

You should either have a court appointed lawyer or a retained lawyer to help you evaluate your options and make the right decision.

More information is needed before a recommendation can be made, including: the availability of services, housing and employment where you would move; your current case plan status, current placement of children; whether your family can care for the children until you are reunified, and if so whether an ICPC (Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children) home study has been initiated or completed.

It is good that you are asking questions, it is very important that you come up with a plan that will work.