Department of Children and Families v. S.B., 2015 WL 674941 (Fla. 3rd DCA)

The Department appealed an order of the trial court directing the Department to make payments to relative caregivers of children. The Department asserted that the trial court’s payment order was in violation of the requirements set forth by the Florida Administration Code Rule 65C-28.008(1)(d). The trial court found that the Administrative Rule was beyond the scope of the language contained in Florida Statute § 39.5085(2)(a), which directs the Department to “establish and operate the Relative Caregiver Program pursuant to eligibility guidelines established in this section as further implemented by rule of the Department.”

The Third DCA found that the trial court exceeded its authority and that the proper procedure to determine a rule’s validity is through an administrative challenge unless there is evidence showing an absence of authority.

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