In re R.T., 2015 WL 1259666 (Fla. 2d DCA)

Mother petitioned the court for a writ of certiorari seeking to quash the trial court’s order requiring her three teenage sons to undergo therapeutic assessments in connection with the denial of Mother’s motion to amend a safety plan prohibiting Mother’s husband, S.K., from having contact with her sons. The Second District Court of Appeal (Second […]

In re YV., 2015 WL 1578561 (Fla. 1st DCA)

This appeal follows dismissal of a private petition for dependency on behalf of a minor child who illegally emigrated alone from Honduras to the United States. Y.V. was abused and abandoned by his parents in Honduras. He crossed the Mexico-United States border alone, was picked up by “authorities,” who contacted his uncle in Florida. Uncle […]

Department of Children and Families v. T.S., 154 So.3d 1223 (Fla. 4th DCA 2015)

The trial court dismissed a petition for dependency sua sponte at a fourth continued arraignment hearing over the objection of the Department of Children and Families (Department). The matter had been continued three times because the Department was unable to locate either parent, and the child absconded from shelter placement. A pick-up order was outstanding […]

J.A.I. v. B.R., 2015 WL 404001 (Fla. 2d DCA)

J.A.I. and J.K.C. filed a petition for writ of certiorari seeking review of a trial court order requiring them and J.A.I.’s daughter to submit to genetic testing for the purpose of determining paternity. The Second District Court of Appeal (Second DCA) granted the writ finding that B.R. was precluded from challenging paternity. J.A.I. and J.K.C. […]

State v. T.S., 155 So.3d 476 (Fla. 1st DCA 2015)

The trial court found that the Department of Children and Families (Department) met the statutory factors for termination of parental rights and established that termination was in the best interests of the child but denied termination, finding it was not the least restrictive means to protect the child. The Department appealed the findings related to […]

R.L. v. W.G., 147 So.3d 1054 (Fla. 5th DCA 2014)

The Fifth District Court of Appeals affirmed an order denying the former foster parents’ motion to intervene in termination proceedings. The Department petitioned to terminate the Mother’s parental rights. While Mother’s rights were still intact, Mother chose to have her cousin (W.G.) adopt her child. The court found W.G. to be qualified and ordered the child […]

H.C. v. Department of Children and Families, 2014 WL 3805524 (Fla. 5th DCA)

The Mother appealed an order denying her motion to reopen the dependency case to modify the trial court’s order placing the children in permanent guardianship with their paternal grandparents. The Fifth District Court of Appeal affirmed denial finding that the parent has the burden of proving that the children’s safety, well-being, and physical, mental and emotional […]

In re: The Adoption of K.A.G., 2014 WL 7331269 (Fla. 5th DCA)

Paternal grandmother and Father appeal the trial court’s judgment dismissing Grandmother’s petition to adopt K.A.G. Father was charged with killing his child’s mother and was incarcerated awaiting trial. The Department of Children and Families (department) began dependency proceedings, placed the child with his aunt and petitioned to terminate Father’s parental rights. Concurrently, Grandmother petitioned the […]

C.B. v. Department of Children and Families, 148 So.3d 833 (Fla. 5th DCA 2014)

Father appealed part of the trial court’s dispositional order requiring him to participate in anger management. The Department conceded error in that the evidence presented to the trial court failed to demonstrate a need for such counseling. Florida Rule of Juvenile Procedure 8.410(b)(4) provides that the case plan be “meaningful and designed to address the […]

V.C.B. v. Shakir, 145 So.3d 967 (Fla. 4th DCA 2014)

Maternal grandparents appealed the denial of their petition to terminate Father’s rights and adopt their grandchild. The trial court found that Father abandoned the child both financially and emotionally but that Father did not willfully disregard the minor child’s safety. The trial court held that such a finding was necessary to terminate parental rights pursuant […]

E.H. v. Department of Children and Families, 147 So.3d 616 (Fla. 4th DCA 2014)

Mother appealed the dependency adjudication of her child, asserting the trial court’s order was not supported by competent substantial evidence. The Fourth DCA affirmed the trial court’s adjudication order. Mother had a history of mental illness and domestic violence with father. Four years prior, mother had another child removed following allegations that mother said she […]

R.W. v. Department of Children and Families, 147 So.3d 631 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2014)

Father appealed termination of his parental rights. The Department of Children and Families (department) confessed error and the Third District Court of Appeal (Third DCA) reversed the termination of parental rights. Although the trial court’s written final judgment found abandonment as the basis for terminating Father’s parental rights, the trial court orally pronounced, “I won’t […]

In re A.W.J., 143 So. 3d 1109 (Fla. 2nd DCA 2014)

Both Mother and Father separately appealed an order adjudicating their child dependent based on physical abuse. The Second District Court of Appeal (Second DCA) reversed the adjudication order. Father testified that he placed his 6 month old child in a Bumbo chair and went in the kitchen. Mother was not at home. While Father was […]

J.B. v. Department of Children and Families, 2014 WL 4976981 (Fla. 1st DCA)

Mother appealed termination of her parental rights claiming she was denied effective assistance of counsel. The First District Court of Appeal (First DCA) affirmed termination but addressed the current standard for determining ineffective assistance of counsel and the procedure for raising an ineffective claim. The First DCA certified both questions. Mother asserted a number of […]

In re G.M., Jr., 71 So.3d 924 (Fla. 2d DCA 2011)

The father appealed the trial court’s order terminating his parental rights based on his failure to complete his case plan tasks and abandonment. The father argued he was unable to comply with his case plan because the Department of Children and Family Services (department) failed to make reasonable efforts to reunify the father with his […]

In re G.M., 73 So.3d 320 (Fla. 2d DCA 2011)

The mother appealed the trial court’s order denying her motion for reunification and that terminated protective supervision with her child in the custody of his non-offending father. Both the mother and father’s case plan goal was reunification and the trial court had found the mother and father (who lived in another state) were in substantial […]

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 […]

In re A.K., 2014 WL 1696142(Fla. 2d DCA)

The father (a non-offending parent living in Tennessee), appealed the trial court’s order setting permanent guardianship and placement of father’s children with their maternal grandparents and denying father’s motion for reunification. When the Department of Children and Families (department) moved to terminate services and request the children be placed permanently with the grandparents, the department […]