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 to the drug testing, the trial court found that drug testing was needed based upon “the allegation of drug use all around.” There was no evidence presented at the trial court that Father abused drugs. Although the petition alleged that Father had a criminal history of drug possession no evidence of his criminal history was presented at trial. Evidence was presented that Father failed to protect the children from Mother’s drug use and neglect, there was no evidence presented that Father’s failure had anything to do with a substance abuse problem of his own.

Pursuant to Florida Statute § 39.6011(2)(a), a case plan must include a “description of the identified problem being addressed, including the parent’s behavior or acts resulting in risk to the child . . . ” Before the court can accept a case plan, it must consider whether the case plan is specifically “designed to address facts and circumstances upon with the court based the findings of dependency . . . ” Florida Statute § 39.603(1)(f).

The Fourth DCA cited to In re G.S., 84 So. 3d 1231, 1233 (Fla. 2d DCA 2012), which held that “[g]eneric case plans that doe not consider the needs and circumstance of the individual family violate these statutory directives, as does a case plan for one parent that simply mirrors the case plan for the other . . . “

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