B.S. v. Department of Children and Families, 2016 WL 6781614 (Fla. 4th DCA)

Mother and Father moved for rehearing and a written opinion. The Fourth District Court of Appeal (Fourth DCA) denied the request for a rehearing but granted the request for a written opinion. The Fourth DCA affirmed termination of the parents’ rights. Evidence was presented at the trial court that an infant child of the parents was found buried […]

R.M. v. State, Dept. of Children and Families, 2016 WL 6476935 (Fla. 4th DCA)

Mother and Father appealed an order adjudicating their children dependent based on neglect, abuse and imminent risk of neglect and/or abuse. The Fourth District Court of Appeal (Fourth DCA) affirmed adjudication based on neglect but reversed as to all other findings. The Fourth DCA found substantial evidence was presented as to an ongoing rat infestation […]

B.B.S. v. Rodriguez-Murguia, 2016 WL 2744994 (Fla. 4th DCA)

This case involves a child support matter and not a dependency matter but the issue in question could pertain to dependency matters. The appellants (the Children) appealed a trial court order dismissing their cause of action to determine maternity.   The Fourth District Court of Appeal (Fourth DCA) reversed and remanded for further proceedings. The Children’s […]

M.D. v. State, 187 So.3d 1275 (Fla. 4th DCA 2016)

Father appealed termination of his parental rights which was based on abandonment. The Fourth District Court of Appeal (Fourth DCA) affirmed termination. Father was incarcerated at the time of the termination trial and had been incarcerated for the two years prior to the trial. Father testified at trial that the last time he saw his […]

D.V. v. Department of Children and Families, 2016 WL 805306 (Fla. 4th DCA)

Father appealed termination of his parental rights. The Fourth District Court of Appeal (Fourth DCA) agreed with Father that the trial court erred in failing to advise Father of his right to counsel at the manifest best interests hearing. The Fourth DCA reversed and remanded for further proceedings. Father had counsel who represented him in […]

Guardian ad Litem Program v. M.H., 184 So.3d 1253 (Fla. 4th DCA 2016)

The Guardian ad Litem program appealed denial of termination of parental rights. The Fourth District Court of Appeal (Fourth DCA) reversed and remanded for further proceedings. The specific question at issue before the Fourth DCA was whether proof of a guilty plea or conviction in a criminal proceeding was required for termination of parental rights […]

Department of Children and Families v. J.S.,2016 WL 145866 (Fla. 4th DCA)

The Department of Children and Families and the Statewide Guardian ad Litem Program appealed a final judgment denying the department’s Petition to terminate the rights of both parents. The Fourth District Court of Appeal (Fourth DCA) reversed denial of termination. The child resided with Mother for the first two years of his life. The child […]

C.S. v. Department of Children and Families, 2015 WL 7007794 (Fla. 4th DCA)

Father appealed termination of his parental rights on the grounds of “egregious conduct.” The Fourth District Court of Appeals (Fourth DCA) found that the life and death consequences of Father’s lack of providing proper medical care supported a finding that his conduct was egregious as defined by Florida Statute § 39.806(1)(f). The child at issue […]

T.B. v. Department of Children and Families, 2015 WL 6496316 (Fla. 4th DCA)

Father appealed an order which placed his children in a permanent guardianship with a relative; terminated supervision by the Department of Children and Families; and modified Father’s visitation with the children to comport with the relative’s planned move out of state. The Fourth District Court of Appeals (Fourth DCA) reversed the order finding that it […]

A.D. v. Department of Children and Families, 2015 WL 5163712 (Fla. 5th DCA)

Father appealed the termination of his parental rights based on abandonment. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal (Fifth DCA) reversed the termination finding the record did not support a finding of abandonment and that the evidence did not rise to a level justifying termination. Florida Statute § 39.01 defines abandonment as “a situation in which […]

W.L. v. Department of Children and Families, 172 So.3d 562 (Fla 4th DCA 2015)

Mother appealed termination of her parental rights. The Fourth District Court of Appeal (Fourth DCA) vacated the order and remanded, without addressing Mother’s arguments, based on the trial court’s failure to recite a number of required factual findings and conclusions of law in its final written order. The Fourth DCA found that rather than issuing […]

D.S. v. Department of Children and Families, 2015 WL 1810315 (Fla. 4th DCA)

Father appealed termination of his parental rights based upon his incarceration. The Fourth District Court of Appeal (Fourth DCA) reversed as to two of his three children, finding as to those children that termination was not supported by competent substantial evidence, that termination was not in the children’s manifest best interest or that termination was […]

B.K. v Department of Children and Families, 2015 WL 1652761 (Fla. 4th DCA)

Father appealed termination of his parental rights. He alleged that his incarceration did not warrant termination as it was not for a significant portion of the child’s life. He further argued that termination was not the least restrictive means of preventing harm to the child. At the time of the termination hearing, Father’s child was […]

A.S. v. Department of Children and Families, 2015 WL 1448507 (Fla. 4th DCA)

Father appealed termination of his parental rights. The Fourth District Court of Appeal (Fourth DCA) reversed the termination holding that the trial court erred in finding that Father abandoned his child and that termination was the least restrictive means to protect the child. J.A. was born in September of 2012 and placed in care immediately […]

M.P. v. Department of Children and Families, 2015 WL 1044156 (Fla 4th DCA)

Father appealed an Order of Adjudication of Dependency and Order of Disposition and Case Plan Approval. The Fourth District Court of Appeal (Fourth DCA) affirmed adjudication but remanded to strike several unsupported findings from the order and reversed the need for the Father to submit to random drug testing from his case plan. With regard […]

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 […]

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 […]

E.R. v. Department of Children and Families, 143 So. 3rd 1131 (Fla. 4th DCA 2014)

The Fourth District Court of Appeal (Fourth DCA) reversed the trial court’s order adjudicating Mother and Father’s children dependent. Specifically, the Fourth DCA (in E.R.) held that the trial court’s finding that Mother “placed both the minor children at imminent risk of neglect and harm” was not supported by “competent, substantial evidence.” The underlying case was […]

T.N.L. v. Department of Children and Families, 2014 WL 223001 (Fla. 4th DCA)

The mother appealed the trial court’s order denying her motion for reunification and placing her child with the father. The mother argued the trial court erred in denying reunification because she was in substantial compliance with her case plan and the trial court did not make any findings that the child’s safety and well-being would […]