Florida law requires people to report suspected child neglect or abuse to the authorities. The Department of Children and Families (DCF) can initiate an investigation into the situation, and if they believe there is a serious problem, DCF can remove your child from your home and care. Once DCF takes action, there must be a “shelter” hearing scheduled for the court to determine if removal of the child was warranted. If the court agrees with the shelter action, DCF can file a Petition for Dependency with the allegations against the parent.
Whether you are a parent facing a DCF case or another interested party, it is critical that you seek legal assistance. There is so much at stake in this situation, and you should speak with an experienced DCF hearing lawyer in Florida immediately if you learn you are under investigation. Do not wait for your child to be taken from your home – contact attorney Juliana Gaita for help now.
The DCF Hearing Process
The petition filed by DCF will include the allegations against you in regard to your parenting. The first step in the hearing is the arraignment, during which you will admit or deny the allegations, or consent to court supervision without admission or denial. If you deny the allegations, you might need to:
- Engage in mediation to reach a compromise with DCF
- Participate in an adjudicatory hearing, which is similar to a trial
If the court finds that you are an unfit parent or that you did not abide by your case plan, it can terminate your parental rights. Needless to say, DCF cases can have extremely serious consequences if not handled properly.
Contact a DCF Lawyer in Florida Right Away
If you have been contacted by DCF, you should consult with a Florida DCF attorney Juliana Gaita as soon as possible. We are here to help in this serious situation, so please contact us today.