(1) All proceedings seeking an adjudication to terminate parental rights pursuant to this chapter must be initiated by the filing of an original petition by the department, the guardian ad litem, or any other person who has knowledge of the facts alleged or is informed of them and believes that they are true.
(2) The form of the petition is governed by the Florida Rules of Juvenile Procedure. The petition must be in writing and signed by the petitioner under oath stating the petitioner’s good faith in filing the petition.
(3) When a petition for termination of parental rights has been filed, the clerk of the court shall set the case before the court for an advisory hearing.
(4) A petition for termination of parental rights filed under this chapter must contain facts supporting the following allegations:
(a) That at least one of the grounds listed in s. 39.806 has been met.
Terms Used In Florida Statutes 39.802
- Adoption: means the act of creating the legal relationship between parent and child where it did not exist, thereby declaring the child to be legally the child of the adoptive parents and their heir at law, and entitled to all the rights and privileges and subject to all the obligations of a child born to the adoptive parents in lawful wedlock. See Florida Statutes 39.01
- Case plan: means a document, as described in…. See Florida Statutes 39.01
- Department: means the Department of Children and Families. See Florida Statutes 39.01
- Dependent: A person dependent for support upon another.
- Evidence: Information presented in testimony or in documents that is used to persuade the fact finder (judge or jury) to decide the case for one side or the other.
- Parent: means a woman who gives birth to a child and a man whose consent to the adoption of the child would be required under…. See Florida Statutes 39.01
- person: includes individuals, children, firms, associations, joint adventures, partnerships, estates, trusts, business trusts, syndicates, fiduciaries, corporations, and all other groups or combinations. See Florida Statutes 1.01
- writing: includes handwriting, printing, typewriting, and all other methods and means of forming letters and characters upon paper, stone, wood, or other materials. See Florida Statutes 1.01
(b) That the parents of the child were informed of their right to counsel at all hearings that they attended and that a dispositional order adjudicating the child dependent was entered in any prior dependency proceeding relied upon in offering a parent a case plan as described in s. 39.806.
(c) That the manifest best interests of the child, in accordance with s. 39.810, would be served by the granting of the petition.
(d) That the parents of the child will be informed of the availability of private placement of the child with an adoption entity, as defined in s. 63.032.
(5) When a petition for termination of parental rights is filed under s. 39.806(1), a separate petition for dependency need not be filed and the department need not offer the parents a case plan with a goal of reunification, but may instead file with the court a case plan with a goal of termination of parental rights to allow continuation of services until the termination is granted or until further orders of the court are issued.
(6) The fact that a child has been previously adjudicated dependent as alleged in a petition for termination of parental rights may be proved by the introduction of a certified copy of the order of adjudication or the order of disposition of dependency.
(7) The fact that the parent of a child was informed of the right to counsel in any prior dependency proceeding as alleged in a petition for termination of parental rights may be proved by the introduction of a certified copy of the order of adjudication or the order of disposition of dependency containing a finding of fact that the parent was so advised.
(8) If the department has entered into a case plan with a parent with the goal of reunification, and a petition for termination of parental rights based on the same facts as are covered in the case plan is filed prior to the time agreed upon in the case plan for the performance of the case plan, then the petitioner must allege and prove by clear and convincing evidence that the parent has materially breached the provisions of the case plan.