In Florida, the Department of Children and Families (DCF)is designed to protect children. The goal is not to shatter the home, but to protect the safety and welfare of the children. In its protective role, DCF can act in more of a prosecutorial manner and rather than seeing an incident as a possible accident, they become more accusatory in nature.
Some of the consequences of DCF involvement is that they have the ability to remove children from your home pending an investigation and during the completion of a case plan, which could take from 6 months to a year, or more. If the case plan is not properly completed, then DCF has the ability to petition the courts to declare the child(ren) dependent on the state, terminate parental rights and place the child(ren) in foster care or up for adoption.
Our firm has represented numerous parents and grandparents who have faced DCF charges for putting a child or children in harms way. The reality is that DCF can have an awful impact and disruption on your family and representation is important.
We hear about teen pregancies from Florida to California all of the time. Ranging from politicians to pop stars, the issue seems to be a constant in our lives. Sarah Palin’s daughter was 17 years old and pregnant, Jamie Lynn Spears was 16 and pregnant, and most likely your Florida teen knows someone in high school that’s pregnant. Taking the political nature of the question out, as in Pro Life or Pro Choice, what are the options one has?
I’m pretty certain that many of these young girls really don’t want to get married right now, but obviously that is an option. But, does it really solve the problem? In Florida we recognize that parents have the right to child support, so the old fashioned idea of pregnancy equals marriage is not really necessary. In fact, it statistically causes more problems later since the majority of marriages that end are due to the couples being too young when they got married.
Another answer is for a paternity test to be done and filed with the court in order to prove the child does have a father, and hold that father responsible for any child support obligations. In teen pregnancy the mother and father are sometimes in school, but the court can impute income for child support to be assessed. Also, the child does have the option of going on state funded medical insurance. However, this is a tough road altogether and it’s important to make certain you’re making the right choice.
A Florida Circuit Court Judge has ruled that a 31 year old ban on gay adoptions is unconstitutional. The Judge allowed the adoption of a openly gay foster parent of a teenage boy that she had raised since 2001. The case was reported in the Miami Herald. The Judge noted that he made his decision on the best interest of the child rather than the law that was passed back in 1977.
The role of the attorney is to interpret laws and pursue cases on behalf of clients. While there is a ban on gay adoptions in the State of Florida, it appears that some Judges are willing to violate statutes in order to challenge the laws to determine if the Florida Supreme Court or the United States Supreme Court will ultimately rule on the issue to confirm the laws in place or in the alternative make new laws.
Section 63.042, Florida Statutes – Who May Be Adopted, Who May Adopt provides that no person is eligible to adopt if that person is a homosexual.