(1) If the court finds that the grounds for termination of parental rights have not been established by clear and convincing evidence, the court shall:
(a) If grounds for dependency have been established, adjudicate or readjudicate the child dependent and:
1. Enter an order placing or continuing the child in out-of-home care under a case plan; or
2. Enter an order returning the child to the parent or parents. The court shall retain jurisdiction over a child returned to the parent or parents for a period of 6 months, but, at that time, based on a report of the social service agency and any other relevant factors, the court shall make a determination as to whether its jurisdiction shall continue or be terminated.
Terms Used In Florida Statutes 39.811
- 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
- Caregiver: means the parent, legal custodian, permanent guardian, adult household member, or other person responsible for a child's welfare as defined in subsection (54). See Florida Statutes 39.01
- Case plan: means a document, as described in…. See Florida Statutes 39.01
- Child support: means a court-ordered obligation, enforced under chapter 61 and ss. See Florida Statutes 39.01
- Consent: means an agreement, including all of the following:1. 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.
- Guardian: A person legally empowered and charged with the duty of taking care of and managing the property of another person who because of age, intellect, or health, is incapable of managing his (her) own affairs.
- Guardian: means a relative, nonrelative, next of kin, or fictive kin who is awarded physical custody of a child in a proceeding brought pursuant to this chapter. See Florida Statutes 39.01
- Jurisdiction: (1) The legal authority of a court to hear and decide a case. Concurrent jurisdiction exists when two courts have simultaneous responsibility for the same case. (2) The geographic area over which the court has authority to decide cases.
- Out-of-home: means a placement outside of the home of the parents or a parent. See Florida Statutes 39.01
- 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
- Party: means the parent or parents of the child, the petitioner, the department, the guardian ad litem or the representative of the guardian ad litem program when the program has been appointed, and the child. See Florida Statutes 39.01
- Permanency goal: means the living arrangement identified for the child to return to or identified as the permanent living arrangement of the child. See Florida Statutes 39.01
- Permanency plan: means the plan that establishes the placement intended to serve as the child's permanent home. See Florida Statutes 39.01
- Prospective parent: means a person who claims to be, or has been identified as, a person who may be a mother or a father of a child. See Florida Statutes 39.01
- Social service agency: means the department, a licensed child-caring agency, or a licensed child-placing agency. See Florida Statutes 39.01
- Testimony: Evidence presented orally by witnesses during trials or before grand juries.(b) If grounds for dependency have not been established, dismiss the petition.
(2) If the child is in the custody of the department and the court finds that the grounds for termination of parental rights have been established by clear and convincing evidence, the court shall, by order, place the child in the custody of the department for the purpose of adoption.
(3) If the child is in the custody of one parent and the court finds that the grounds for termination of parental rights have been established for the remaining parent by clear and convincing evidence, the court shall enter an order terminating the rights of the parent for whom the grounds have been established and placing the child in the custody of the remaining parent, granting that parent sole parental responsibility for the child.
(4) If the child is neither in the custody of the department nor in the custody of a parent and the court finds that the grounds for termination of parental rights have been established for either or both parents, the court shall enter an order terminating parental rights for the parent or parents for whom the grounds for termination have been established and placing the child with the department or an appropriate legal custodian. If the parental rights of both parents have been terminated, or if the parental rights of only one parent have been terminated and the court makes specific findings based on evidence presented that placement with the remaining parent is likely to be harmful to the child, the court may order that the child be placed with a legal custodian other than the department after hearing evidence of the suitability of the intended placement. Suitability of the intended placement includes the fitness and capabilities of the proposed legal custodian to function as the primary caregiver for a particular child; and the compatibility of the child with the home in which the child is intended to be placed. If the court orders that a child be placed with a legal custodian under this subsection, the court shall appoint a legal custodian as the guardian for the child as provided in s. 744.3021 or s. 39.621. The court may modify the order placing the child in the custody of the legal custodian and revoke the guardianship established under s. 744.3021 or another relationship if the court subsequently finds the placement to be no longer in the best interest of the child.
(5) If the court terminates parental rights, the court shall enter a written order of disposition within 30 days after conclusion of the hearing briefly stating the facts upon which its decision to terminate the parental rights is made. An order of termination of parental rights, whether based on parental consent or after notice served as prescribed in this part, permanently deprives the parents of any right to the child.
(6) The parental rights of one parent may be severed without severing the parental rights of the other parent only under the following circumstances:
(a) If the child has only one surviving parent;
(b) If the identity of a prospective parent has been established as unknown after sworn testimony;
(c) If the parent whose rights are being terminated became a parent through a single-parent adoption;
(d) If the protection of the child demands termination of the rights of a single parent; or
(e) If the parent whose rights are being terminated meets any of the criteria specified in s. 39.806(1)(c), (d), (f), (g), (h), (i), (j), (k), (l), (m), or (n).
(7)(a) The termination of parental rights does not affect the rights of grandparents unless the court finds that continued visitation is not in the best interests of the child or that such visitation would interfere with the permanency goals for the child.
(b) If the court terminates parental rights, it may, as appropriate, order that the parents, siblings, or relatives of the parent whose rights are terminated be allowed to maintain some communication or contact with the child pending adoption if the best interests of the child support this continued communication or contact, except as provided in paragraph (a). If the court orders such continued communication or contact, which may include, but is not limited to, visits, letters, and cards or telephone calls, the nature and frequency of the communication or contact must be set forth in written order and may be reviewed upon motion of any party, or, for purposes of this subsection, an identified prospective adoptive parent. If a child is placed for adoption, the nature and frequency of the communication or contact must be reviewed by the court at the time the child is placed for adoption.
(8) If the court terminates parental rights, it shall, in its order of disposition, provide for a hearing, to be scheduled no later than 30 days after the date of disposition, in which the department shall provide to the court an amended case plan that identifies the permanency goal for the child. Reasonable efforts must be made to place the child in a timely manner in accordance with the permanency plan and to complete whatever steps are necessary to finalize the permanent placement of the child. Thereafter, until the adoption of the child is finalized or the child reaches the age of 18 years, whichever occurs first, the court shall hold hearings at 6-month intervals to review the progress being made toward permanency for the child.
(9) After termination of parental rights, the court shall retain jurisdiction over any child for whom custody is given to a social service agency until the child is adopted. The court shall review the status of the child’s placement and the progress being made toward permanent adoptive placement. As part of this continuing jurisdiction, for good cause shown by the guardian ad litem for the child, the court may review the appropriateness of the adoptive placement of the child.