Navigating the Florida Child Welfare system requires patience, diligence, and experience. We have all three.
If you are adopting a child from foster care with the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF), our firm can finalize the adoption for you. In many situations, we are able to assist you and our fees are limited to the $1000.00 of non-recurring expenses reimbursable by the State. In other cases, especially if you are seeking an enhanced subsidy due to specials needs of your child, additional legal fees will be incurred in obtaining that enhancement.
Even when a child has been removed from a biological parent and placed in foster care, the parent may still be able to choose an adoptive family for her child through an intervention action so long as her parental rights have not yet been terminated. This can be a win-win situation for all — the child achieves a permanent home quickly, the biological parent has a voice in her child’s future, and all may benefit from an open adoption. We are experienced in filing intervention actions but limit our representation only to those cases where doing so is in the best interest of the child.
Foster to Adopt
If you are fostering a child you wish to adopt, we can assist you in filing a private termination of parental rights proceeding. Likewise, we can assist with litigation of competing adoption petitions. We can also finalize your DCF adoption for you and can assist with subsidy and maintenance requests.
Guardianship or Temporary Custody by Extended Family Member
Sometimes a situation calls for a level of permanency short of adoption. Perhaps your child needs to live with a relative for personal reasons or to attend school. Perhaps your family is relocating but you prefer not to uproot your child in the midst of the school year. Perhaps you have a relative child in your care on a student visa. Caregivers in these situations may have no legal authority to sign school forms, agree to medical treatment, or be recognized as a child’s guardian. We can help you set up a legal framework that fits your needs, whether it be extended care by a relative or a temporary or permanent guardianship. We will help protect you, the child, and the caregiver so you can retain your parental rights until you can be reunited with your child. If you later decide that a more permanent placement is best, we can help establish a permanent guardianship or an adoption.
Abuse or Neglect Allegations
There may be no situation more frightening for a parent or caregiver than are facing allegations of child abuse or neglect or an having an abuse report filed against you. If your child has been removed and is being sheltered either with a relative or in a foster home based on probable cause that the child has been abused, abandoned or neglected, knowing your rights from the very start and hiring an attorney who understands the dependency system is crucial. Emotions run wild and the stakes are high. Breathe. Whether you need just an explanation or assistance with a case plan or a fierce advocate to represent you in court, we can help.