S.M. v. Department of Children and Families, 188 So.3d 982 (Fla. 5th DCA 2016)

Father appealed termination of his parental rights to T.H. The Fifth District Court of Appeal (Fifth DCA) affirmed termination. When T.H. was two years old, Father was found guilty by reason of insanity of homicide and involuntarily committed. He remained institutionalized almost continuously since then. T.H. was adjudicated dependent in 2011. Four years later, T.H. […]

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 […]

R.W. v. Department of Children and Families, 2016 WL 1239878 (Fla. 3rd DCA)

Mother appealed termination of her parental rights. The Third District Court of Appeal (Third DCA) affirmed termination. The Third DCA found merit in only one of the issues mother raised on appeal, her claim that the trial court’s participation in the questioning of witnesses at the adjudication hearing constituted an abandonment of neutrality and impartiality. […]

M.C. v. Department of Children and Families, 2016 WL 717694 (Fla. 3rd DCA)

Mother appealed termination of her parental rights under § 39.806(1)(f). The Third District Court of Appeal (Third DCA) reversed termination. The underlying petition for termination of Mother’s rights alleged that Mother took E.C. to the hospital with “second degree, caustic, liquid burns” on his back, buttocks, right shoulder and right side of his body. Mother […]

Department of Children and Families v. B.C., 2016 WL 635072 (Fla. 1st DCA)

The Department of Children and Families and the Guardian ad Litem Program appealed denial of a petition for termination of parental rights. The First District Court of Appeal (First DCA) reversed denial and remanded for further proceedings. Although the trial court found the termination of parental rights was statutorily warranted and in the manifest best […]

In re B.F., 2016 WL 166669 (Fla. 2nd DCA)

Mother appealed termination of her parental rights. Although the Second District Court of Appeal (Second DCA) affirmed, the Second DCA issued an opinion to express its concern with the elimination of the nexus requirement in amended  § 39.806(1)(f). The Second DCA noted concern regarding the constitutionality of the amendment, specifically that the amendment might not […]

In re A.W., 2015 WL 9258506 (Fla. 2nd DCA)

Mother appealed termination of her parental rights to her daughters, S.W. and A.W. The Second District Court of Appeal (Second DCA) reversed and remanded, finding that the trial court erroneously applied a statutory amendment retroactively in its findings. N.W. lived with her long-term girlfriend T.H., T.H.’s daughter T.K.H, and N.W.’s daughters. N.W. and T.H. had […]

J.P. v. Florida Department of Children and Families, 2015 WL 167394 (Fla. 1st DCA)

Mother appealed termination of her parental rights as to her daughter, T.P. The First District Court of Appeal (First DCA) affirmed the TPR utilizing the “highly deferential” standard of review. T.P. came to the attention of the department following two hospitalizations for nephrotic syndrome and allegations of medical neglect. Mother was provided training on her […]

Department of Children and Families v. B.C., 2016 WL 635072 (Fla. 1st DCA)

To terminate parental rights there must be: the existence of a statutory ground for termination under § 39.806; that termination is in the child’s manifest best interests under § 39.810; and the termination of parental rights is the least restrictive means of protecting the child from serious harm. The trial court concluded based on clear […]

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 […]

In re E.D., 2015 WL 9487592 (Fla. 2d DCA)

In affirming the trial court’s final judgment that terminated the mother’s parental rights to her four children, the Second District Court of Appeal emphasized the importance of trial courts adhering to specific time frames in cases involving termination of parental rights.  In this case, the trial court did not render its final termination of parental […]

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 […]

Statewide Guardian ad Litem Program v. A.A., 2015 WL 4510417 (Fla. 5th DCA)

The Statewide Guardian ad Litem Program (GAL) and the Department of Children and Families (DCF) appealed the trial court’s Final Judgment Denying Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights and Ordering a Permanent Guardianship Case Plan. The trial court found that DCF proved statutory grounds for termination as to Mother and Father by clear and convincing evidence […]

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 […]

C.D. v. Department of Children and Families, 2015 WL 848157 (Fla. 1st DCA)

Mother appealed a decision terminating her parental rights. The First District Court of Appeal (First DCA) reversed and remanded only the trial court’s ruling that termination was the least restrictive means of protecting her children from harm. At the termination trial, Dr. Flynn, the family therapist working with mother and the children, testified that he […]

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 […]

A.H. v. Department of Children and Families, 144 So. 3d 662 (Fla. 1st DCA 2014)

Mother appealed termination of her parental rights arguing that the court’s findings that that she abandoned her child and that termination was the least restrictive means of protecting the child were erroneous. The First District Court of Appeal (First DCA) reversed termination solely on the issue that the trial court failed to find that termination […]

A.D. v. Department of Children and Families, 2013 WL 3742775 (Fla. 3d DCA)

The father appealed the trial court’s order terminating the mother’s parental rights. The father argued, “he was denied due process when the trial court refused to appoint counsel for him at the mother’s termination of parental rights proceedings and as a result, he was also denied his right to be heard at her trial.” The […]

S.B. v. Department of Children and Families, 132 So.3d 1243 (Fla. 1st DCA 2014)

The father of three daughters and their half-brother, appealed the trial court’s termination of his parental rights. The Department of Children and Families’  (the department) petition was based on the argument that the “incarcerated father’s continued relationship with his children would be harmful to them within meaning of termination of parental rights statute. § 39.806(1)(d), […]

J.H. v. Department of Children and Families, 2014 WL 3559381 (Fla. 5th DCA)

The Department of Children and Families appealed denial of its petition for termination of parental rights.  The Fifth District Court of Appeal (Fifth DCA) affirmed the trial court’s decision but issued its opinion without prejudice, specifically granting the Department permission to refile for termination of parental rights if Father is sentenced to a significant prison […]

In the Interest of A.R., 2014 WL 3537020 (Fla. 2nd DCA)

Father appealed termination of his parental rights following Mother’s private petition for termination.  Mother’s underlying petition cited Fla. Statute § 39.806(1)(d)(1), which allows for termination when the parent is expected to be incarcerated for a significant portion of the child’s minority.  The trial court did not permit Father to present evidence regarding the nature of […]