Florida Supreme Court issues stay in immigrant juvenile cases

In case you’ve been under a child welfare rock, there has been a storm brewing for the past year regarding the handling of unaccompanied immigrant minors in Florida’s child welfare system. It started in Miami with two cases: BYGM and KBLV. The opinions are worth a read to get a feel for exactly what is going […]

Case law update: TPR for medical neglect of child resulting in AIDS; adoption subsidy doesn’t offset child support

The Fifth DCA addresses the question of whether an adoption subsidy can be used to reduce child support obligations. Short answer: no. Tluzek v. Tluzek, — So.3d —- (Fla. 5th DCA 2015). The Fourth DCA affirms what appears to be an expedited termination of parental rights for medical neglect resulting in a child developing AIDS. C.S. […]

Florida Supreme Court accepts two dependency cases for review

Last week, the Florida Supreme Court accepted two dependency cases for review. I’ll write more on both later, but here is a quick overview: The first is O.I.C.L. v. Florida Department of Children and Families. This case involves a circuit split in how immigrant children are adjudicated dependent. Briefing should be complete by December 7, and […]

Fourth DCA splits kids of father who has two years left in jail

The Fourth DCA issued an opinion yesterday that troubles me. The case involves the father of three children. Because of the mother’s drug use, the oldest and youngest of his kids were placed with an aunt. The middle child was placed in foster care. Unsurprisingly, the father was able to maintain contact and a relationship with […]

Another PCA on how to close a case

This one is very technical, too. The court terminated supervision and left the child with an uncharged father. Mr. Colbert argues that the court should have weighed the child’s best interest in determining whether to close the case. (The trial judge apparently said on the record that it would be in the child’s best interest to keep the […]

Post-blogging a case on violations of withholds.

I’m a little behind in my video posting. This appeal is very technical. Kevin Colbert is arguing on behalf of a mother who received a withhold of adjudication. At some later time, she was found intoxicated (without the child present). The court violated the withhold and entered an adjudication and removed the child(ren) from her […]

Third DCA reverses judge on caregiver funds, caregivers still win

The Third DCA issued a reminder yesterday that dependency court judges can’t do just anything in the best interest of a child. The case involved DCF’s obligation to provide financial support to people who take custody of children they’re related to. This helps support kids in their families, instead of placing them out with strangers. This is […]

An easy guide to new things you can and cannot do in 2015

The future can be a confusing place. I’ll try to make it a little easier to navigate.  Things you CAN do Have an evidentiary hearing on whether your administrative action notice actually arrived to you. Get married in Florida irrespective of your gender.  Things you CANNOT do Represent yourself in a dependency matter unless you waive counsel knowingly […]

Federal suit against Hillsborough child welfare employees allowed to go forward

A federal judge ruled this month that a lawsuit involving the 2012 death of Marie Freyre can go forward, denying various child welfare employees’ motions to dismiss. Judge James Whittemore (Tampa) ruled on December 5 that the mother stated valid claims that the child welfare employees violated her rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation […]

Is an attorney ad litem a guardian ad litem?

This oral argument arises out of a termination of parental rights case in which the trial court appointed an attorney to “represent the best interests of the child.” The Guardian ad Litem Program had announced that it had a conflict and could not represent the child because it was already appointed to the child’s mother, who […]