Orlando DCF/Dependency Hearing Attorney
Ideally, you would be able to parent your child effectively with no input from the government. However, there are some situations in which the Department of Children and Families (DCF) will interfere. Most likely, they are involved because they are responding to a call to the anonymous hotline for abuse or neglect or law enforcement has responded to a situation involving children.
As a result, there may be dependency proceedings involved and they can feel like criminal cases. However, you do not have to sit idly by. You do have fundamental rights.
The Department of Children and Families (DCF) may file a shelter and/or dependency petition. But in doing so, they must allege that a child is:
- Abused, neglected, or abandoned
- At substantial risk of abuse, neglect, or abandonment
- Sexual exploited
- Surrendered for adoption
- Without a parent or legal guardian who can provide proper care
Have questions about the process? Seek legal help from Orlando dependency hearing attorney Steve W. Marsee, P.A. Attorney at Law.
If your child has been taken by the Department of Children and Families, there are two possible hearings:
- Shelter hearing. If your child is taken away in an “emergency” situation, there will likely be a shelter hearing within 24 hours. At this hearing, it will be determined if the State had probable cause to remove the children and where they should be placed. The court will try to place children with family or friends if possible. If not, then the child may be placed in foster care. If the child is placed away from one parent, the court will typically order visitation (supervised or unsupervised). The parent may be ordered to pay child support and other expenses, such as medical bills, during the time the child is in shelter.
- Petition for dependency. A petition for dependency declares a child dependent upon the State. The petition is typically filed by the Department of Children and Families, but may be, in rare cases, done by a private party. The petition must state why the child must be removed from the home and the allegations must be proven. There will be an arraignment within 28 days of the shelter hearing. There, the parents will be allowed to admit or deny the claims.
After the hearings, the parents will enter a case plan. Goals of a case plan may include reunification with parents, permanent relative placement, permanent guardianship, another planned permanency placement, or adoption.
Contact Us Today
When the government is involved in the relationship with your child, it can be a frustrating experience. You need an experienced lawyer on your side to help you deal with the Department of Children and Families.
Orlando dependency hearing attorney Steve W. Marsee, P.A. Attorney at Law can advise you during this complicated process. We can help you get your child back into your custody. Schedule a consultation with our office today. Fill out the online form or call 407-521-7171.