Hope For Parental Rights

Providing alternatives for Florida parents facing Termination of Parental Rights (TPR)

How Dependency Court Works:

Child abuse allegations must be followed up in an orderly manner. In the State of Florida, each county has its' own specific procedures which usually involve a long court process and involvement with parents, children and The State of Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF).

Dependency Court:
When a child is taken from the parents, the investigator (state) can file what is called a "petition for dependency". This is a legal document that starts the case in Dependency Court. Dependency Court can be referred to as UFC, or Unified Family Court. Either way, the process tends to be very long and tedious. Sometimes the Dependency Court will work along side a proceeding that may be going on in a Divorce Court - but not always.
The court case usually begins with either a State agency or an individual filing a complaint to the Florida Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-96-ABUSE. The State is required to follow up with an investigator within 24 hours of the call. In most cases the Department of Child Protective Services gets involved and it can be coordinated by a local sheriff's office, outside contractor, or the Department itself. The investigator is required to visit the site where the child lives and investigate the situation.

The initial on site investigation will include an inspection of the home where the child lives, an interview with the parents, and observation of any condition that could be hazardous to the child's welfare. Any sign of abuse such as drugs, excessive alcohol abuse, bodily marks on the child, etc... will be noted. If the investigator determines that there is sufficient reason to determine the child is in danger, they can make an immediate decision to remove the child from the home and place them in a protective temporary home. Usually the child is placed in the home of a safe relative, but if no one can be found that is related to the child and is deemed safe, the child ca be placed into a foster care situation.
The next step is generally for an initial hearing to be scheduled. This hearing will determine if there has been reasonable cause for the abuse petition to be issued. As is the case in most court proceedings - you can hire your own attorney at your cost - or one may be provided for you at either a low or no cost basis. If you choose the appointed attorney, you will most likely NOT be able to meet with them personally as their case load is very full. The service level of a court provided attorney will unfortunately be low because of their demanding work schedule.
A "case plan" will be set up which will require the parents to meet certain guidelines and requirements in order to get their children returned into their home. This process may require you to appear in court at least every 60 days and you will be subjected to dealing with a variety of professionals you do not know that that will be involved in the case. It will be very tiring and confusing at times.
Remember that if you do not have sufficient funds - the state will provide an attorney for you throughout the entire length of the proceeding. However, they type of service you may want to receive from your counsel will be very limited.

At Hope For Families, we can refer you to a qualified attorney - as we are not legal advisors ourselves. This attorney may be able to give you advise concerning the proceedings as well as your options to have your children adopted into a loving home rather than have them go through the foster care system.

We feel confident you can be educated on your options. You still have the right to determine where your children will be placed if your Termination of Parental Rights (TPR) case is not yet closed. Please
contact us and we would be happy to help!
The Dependency court judge has the power to require you to have many different types of medical and psychological tests to help evaluate whether or not you will be a fit parent. They may require you to take training courses, intervention classes or a variety of procedures to help ensure you can be considered fit to get your children returned to your home. If you do not comply, or fail the tests, you face the possibility of permanently losing your children. In this case, the state can terminate your parental rights and place your child into a family of its' choosing. Again, they will look to extended family members to place the child, but if no one suitable can be found, they will place the child into a permanent situation of their choice.

During the process before your parental rights are permanently terminated (TPR), you may realize that you are not going to win custody of your children, or realize that you are not at the stage of your life to be a parent. If there is no one you want to be your child’s parents, you can choose to complete an Adoption Intervention and call us to help you select one of our carefully screened adoption approved adoption families.
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Hope For Families Adoption Services, Inc

HOPE FOR FAMILIES ADOPTION SERVICES has loving families who desperately want to adopt and become parents. Before we recommend anyone to you through our rigorous home study and clinical assessment process, we first have their backgrounds thoroughly checked, and make sure there is no criminal record.

"Real love is putting your child’s needs ahead of your own and making a future for them!"

Call us at 1-800-620-(HOPE)4673 to get immediate help

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