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Fourth DCA: Consent to 39.806(1)(c) is Consent to LRM

Though this isn’t as exciting as the Affordable Healthcare Act ruling, it’s at least a substantive dependency case, which we haven’t seen in what feels like forever. It’s been a very quiet summer. Thank goodness for the Fourth DCA who this week adopted the Second DCA’s reasoning from In re G.M., holding that an implied consent under 39.806(1)(c) is an implied consent that termination is the least restrictive means to protect the child.

We agree with the Second District’s holding in G.M. In this case, by failing to appear at the advisory hearing, the mother gave constructive consent under section 39.801(3)(d) to the termination of her parental rights. The petition for termination of parental rights specifically alleged that the mother’s continuing involvement in the parent-child relationship threatened the life, safety, or well-being of the child irrespective of the provision for services. Accordingly, as in G.M., by acknowledging through her constructive consent that a case plan would be futile, the mother implicitly agreed that termination was the least restrictive means of protecting the child.

L.E. v. DCF, — So.3d —-, 2012 WL 2401095 (Fla. 4th DCA 2012).

The Fourth goes on to say that the provision of a case plan which the mother didn’t comply with is also evidence supporting LRM. That evidence presumably came from the consent under 39.806(1)(e), which therefore creates another auto-LRM ground.

Thanks Fourth–everyone can return to their beach chairs now.

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