Carol McNally Presented with Honorary Guardian ad Litem Award

Carol is the Executive Director of Healthy Families Florida and is retiring after years of advocacy. Healthy Families Florida is a nationally accredited home visiting program for expectant parents and parents of newborns experiencing stressful life situations. The program improves childhood outcomes and increases family self-sufficiency by empowering parents through education and community support. Parents […]

A.J. v. Department of Children and Families, 111 So.3d 980 (Fla. 5th DCA 2013)

The father appealed the trial court’s dependency adjudication of his daughter. She was born prematurely and had significant health problems, which required intensive medical involvement. The Department of Children and Families (department) based their dependency petition on the parent’s neglect of the child’s extensive medical needs and her failure to thrive.  The parent had failed […]

Chew v. Roberts, 122 So.3d 493 (Fla. 5th DCA 2013)

After a child’s parental rights were terminated, the foster parents moved to intervene in the dependency proceeding in order to adopt the child. The child’s aunt and uncle also filed motions to adopt the child and moved the trial court to consolidate the actions. The foster parents opposed the consolidation because they did not received […]

Department of Children and Families v. T.W., 124 So.3d 411 (Fla. 5th DCA 2013)

The Department of Children and Families (department) appealed the trial court’s order reunifying the mother and her children based on unsworn statements made by the mother and the caseworker. The department argued that there was “no prior notice that reunification would be addressed, [the department] was not afforded an opportunity to present witnesses or otherwise […]

In re Adoption of D.P.P., 2014 WL 2109130 (Fla. 5th DCA)

The biological mother moved for relief from the final judgment of adoption, whereby her same-sex partner adopted her child. The trial court vacated the final judgment of adoption holding the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction and the final adoption where the biological mother’s same-sex partner (partner) adoption of the biological mother’s child was void. The […]

R.L.R. v. State, 116 So.3d 570 (Fla. 3d DCA 2014)

R.L.R, a dependent young adult, filed a petition for writ of mandamus to compel the trial court to reverse its order directing his attorneys ad litem to disclose juvenile whereabouts after he had run away. R.L.R. had been appointed two attorneys ad litem to represent him. The attorneys representing him refused to disclose his whereabouts […]

D.C. v. J.M., 133 So.3d 1080 (Fla. 3d DCA 2014)

The mother sought a writ of certiorari quashing a “Partial Order on Foster Parents’ Motion to Intervene” entered by the trial court. The foster parents’ motion alleged that they had “direct and immediate interests” in the dependency cases relating to the mother’s children in their care and that they had a right to intervene and […]

In re J.B.,130 So.3d 753 (Fla. 2d DCA 2014)

The father appealed the trial court’s order terminating protective supervision and placing his two children in permanent guardianship. At the time of the latest judicial review, neither the father nor the mother had achieved their case plan goals. The children had been living in non-relative foster care for about 18 months. The day before the […]

A.C. v. Department of Children and Family Services and Guardian ad Litem Program,136 So.3d 720 (Fla. 2d DCA 2014)

The Second District Court of Appeal (Second DCA) reversed the trial court’s order placing the father’s three children in permanent guardianship. Although the trial court’s decision to place the children in a permanent guardianship was supported by competent, substantial evidence, the trial court’s order failed to contain or reference the findings required by § 39.6221(2)(a),Fla. […]

In re A.P., 135 So.3d 541 (Fla. 2d DCA 2014)

The father appealed the trial court’s order adjudicating his children dependent based upon an unsecured gun being found in the home.   The Second District Court of Appeal (Second DCA) reversed the dependency adjudication holding the “application of § 39.01(15)(f) requires “the necessity of a continuing risk-not just a risk that existed sometime in the […]

In re S.M.,136 So.3d 1271 (Fla. 2d DCA 2014)

The father and mother petitioned for a writ of certiorari to quash the trial court’s disposition order that accepted the case plan requiring each parent to submit to a psychiatric evaluation and a substance abuse evaluation. The Second District Court of Appeal (Second DCA) agreed with the parents and quashed the part of the order […]