It is important to have a competent and competent representative for any interaction you or your family have with the child care system. Mulligan & Associates` lawyers have more than a decade of experience in major cases involving children. Call us at 352-593-5990 if you or a loved one is affected by the child care system. If a law enforcement officer determines that a child needs to be removed from the home, they must take the child to the DCF. The DCF official or social worker will prepare an affidavit – a written statement that can be used as evidence – for the state attorney. The state prosecutor will then immediately file a request for emergency care with the court. (See 33 V.S.A. § 5302.) The court must hold a hearing within 72 hours. At the hearing, the court will decide if your child can go home. This hearing is often referred to as a “72-hour hearing.” You should receive notice from the court.
If DCF removes your child without a court order, they must request an emergency removal within 48 hours. An emergency hearing is then scheduled within 72 hours. At this hearing, the court will decide whether or not DCF will be granted emergency custody of the child. If the judge decides that you should lose all your rights over your child and that your child can be adopted, your custody and protection file is complete. But you can go to a higher court and ask them to overturn the decision. A care and protection petition asks the state to get involved with your family. He asks the court to protect your child from abuse or neglect at home. The hours and days that go by without your children fading and important facts being quickly forgotten. Take a few minutes to write everything about your communication with DCF. Write down as many details as you remember, including dates, times, places, and some things that were said. It is especially important to heed any threat or warning from DCF.
Again, make sure your lawyer has this information. The decision-making process should take place within thirty (30) days of the hearing. You can present evidence and witnesses at this hearing to prove that your child should be handed over to you. If parents are unable to successfully reunite their children within the time allowed by Florida law, the court must determine what other tenure goal is appropriate for your child. The statue describes the sustainability goals under F.S. 39,621. The legally preferred goal after reunification is adoption. Permanent guardianship is the next preferred objective of the court and provides the child with a permanent home until he or she reaches the age of majority, but does not terminate the rights of the parents. Parents can continue to visit their children and make decisions on important medical issues.
Other objectives that could be approved by the court are permanent accommodation with a capable and consenting parent and another permanent housing arrangement provided. If the judge decides that your child can go home, they may ask you to follow certain rules and do certain things. If DCF removes your child from your home without a court order, you can apply for a removal order. This application may be filed with the court that made the order or with the court having jurisdiction to hear your case. Once you have signed the plan, you must follow it. DCF will probably check if you follow it. You, your lawyer and your child`s lawyer should keep an eye on DCF and other service providers to see if they are doing what they have agreed. Without a court order, you cannot file a complaint against DCF if they take your child with them. DCF can only be held responsible if it does not follow the appropriate legal procedure.
At the hearing, DCF, you and your child`s lawyer all have the right to speak and present evidence. This is usually the first time you or your lawyer have the chance to learn the DCF side of history. This is the time for you to ask the judge to return custody of your child or transfer temporary custody to another person, such as a family member or friend. In some cases, DCF will implement a safety plan or request services instead of trying to remove children from your care. This often happens when DCF believes that children are at risk of being injured, but they do not believe that children are in immediate danger. DCF can only remove a child without a court order if it has made all reasonable efforts to keep the child at home and has failed. DCF must also believe that there is no other way to protect the child from harm. The judge must then decide whether returning home would put your child in imminent danger. If the judge decides it`s too dangerous, he or she will give temporary custody of your child: if you want your child to come back, you must attend the hearing.
The judge must see you and hear you. Prior to the hearing, DCF must issue an affidavit containing allegations of abuse, abandonment and neglect. At this hearing, a judge will review DCF`s application for shelter and determine if there is a likely reason to remove or “house” your children under Florida laws. It is important to attend this hearing in person, as important issues are raised regarding the basis for expulsion, placement, visitation, the child`s medical needs, the child`s educational needs, and Native American heritage. The justice system generally prefers to place children with family members when safe and appropriate. If no suitable parent is available, the court may place the children with an appropriate family friend or foster family. Often, at this hearing, an ad litem guardian is appointed to defend the best interests of your child.