If you have a situation where DCF becomes involved, you may worry that the agents can take your child from you. While the department has the authority to do so, it is not the goal of the agency.
The goal is to keep you and your children together, but in some cases, the DCF has no choice but to take your child. The Florida Courts explain there are specific criteria workers from the department must follow to remove a child from a parent’s custody.
The bottom line is that DCF must have a good reason to believe any evidence is accurate and that any accusations are truthful to take your child. They need probable cause, which is just having some evidence supporting their beliefs.
DCF can take a child if there is evidence of abuse or neglect. They can do it if they feel the child is in danger or suffering. In some situations where the court is already involved, agents can take a child for a parent violating terms of a court order or in situations where there is no adult to take custody of the child. In all cases, the court must approve the removal over other options for the care of the child.
Generally, DCF will not take a child if it is not necessary to protect that child from immediate danger. They will try to place the child with family if possible over putting the child in a foster home. The court becomes involved immediately to approve any type of placement outside the child’s home.