For better or worse, the most important relationship children in Florida have is with their parents. Not all parent-child relationships are healthy, which may result in forcible separation. Neglect and abuse are the most common reasons for this. In other instances, criminal convictions or the death of parents may result in the need to appoint a new guardian.
According to the American Bar Association, dependency law governs the court proceedings related to protective custody of children. Sometimes children are removed by a court order and sometimes it is law enforcement that puts the removal into motion. Whatever the route taken, if the parent is alive and is not incarcerated, they may want to get their children back.
After all, the reason their children were taken may have been due to a temporary issue, such as inability to financially care for their children or the development of an addiction. Parents may also worry about visitation rights. According to the Florida Courts, parents may see their children during court proceedings as long as they do not pose potential harm or danger to the child.
If the court determines that the parent is not yet in the best position to care for their child, they may need to work on a case plan. This case plan helps to ready parents and the environments in which they plan to raise their child. If a parent refuses to work on the case plan or the court decides that a parent poses a threat to their child, the courts may permanently terminate parental rights.
While many parents fear dependency law provisions, it is important to note that Florida believes children are better off with their parents. The court wants families to remain together. However, they also believe that children should be safe and properly cared for. If a parent cannot provide a home or living situation that meets these needs, they may not get their children back while they are still minors.