(1) Upon entry of final judgment terminating parental rights, a licensed child-placing agency that takes physical custody of an infant surrendered at a hospital, emergency medical services station, or fire station pursuant to s. 383.50 assumes responsibility for the medical and other costs associated with the emergency services and care of the surrendered infant from the time the licensed child-placing agency takes physical custody of the surrendered infant.
(2) The licensed child-placing agency shall immediately seek an order from the circuit court for emergency custody of the surrendered infant. The emergency custody order shall remain in effect until the court orders preliminary approval of placement of the surrendered infant in the prospective home, at which time the prospective adoptive parents become guardians pending termination of parental rights and finalization of adoption or until the court orders otherwise. The guardianship of the prospective adoptive parents shall remain subject to the right of the licensed child-placing agency to remove the surrendered infant from the placement during the pendency of the proceedings if such removal is deemed by the licensed child-placing agency to be in the best interests of the child. The licensed child-placing agency may immediately seek to place the surrendered infant in a prospective adoptive home.
(3) The licensed child-placing agency that takes physical custody of the surrendered infant shall, within 24 hours thereafter, request assistance from law enforcement officials to investigate and determine, through the Missing Children Information Clearinghouse, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and any other national and state resources, whether the surrendered infant is a missing child.
(4) The parent who surrenders the infant in accordance with s. 383.50 is presumed to have consented to termination of parental rights, and express consent is not required. Except when there is actual or suspected child abuse or neglect, the licensed child-placing agency shall not attempt to pursue, search for, or notify that parent as provided in s. 63.088 and chapter 49. For purposes of s. 383.50 and this section, an infant who tests positive for illegal drugs, narcotic prescription drugs, alcohol, or other substances, but shows no other signs of child abuse or neglect, shall be placed in the custody of a licensed child-placing agency. Such a placement does not eliminate the reporting requirement under s. 383.50(7). When the department is contacted regarding an infant properly surrendered under this section and s. 383.50, the department shall provide instruction to contact a licensed child-placing agency and may not take custody of the infant unless reasonable efforts to contact a licensed child-placing agency to accept the infant have not been successful.
(5) A petition for termination of parental rights under this section may not be filed until 30 days after the date the infant was surrendered in accordance with s. 383.50. A petition for termination of parental rights may not be granted until a parent has failed to reclaim or claim the surrendered infant within the time period specified in s. 383.50.
(6) A claim of parental rights of the surrendered infant must be made to the entity having legal custody of the surrendered infant or to the circuit court before which proceedings involving the surrendered infant are pending. A claim of parental rights of the surrendered infant may not be made after the judgment to terminate parental rights is entered, except as otherwise provided by subsection (9).
(7) If a claim of parental rights of a surrendered infant is made before the judgment to terminate parental rights is entered, the circuit court may hold the action for termination of parental rights in abeyance for a period of time not to exceed 60 days.
(a) The court may order scientific testing to determine maternity or paternity at the expense of the parent claiming parental rights.
Terms Used In Florida Statutes 63.0423
- 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 such adoptive parents in lawful wedlock. See Florida Statutes 153.10
- Agency: means any child-placing agency licensed by the department pursuant to…. See Florida Statutes 153.10
- Child: means any unmarried person under the age of 18 years who has not been emancipated by court order. See Florida Statutes 153.10
- Court: means a circuit court of this state and, if the context requires, the court of any state that is empowered to grant petitions for adoption. See Florida Statutes 153.10
- Department: means the Department of Children and Families. See Florida Statutes 153.10
- 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.
- Legal custody: has the meaning ascribed in…. See Florida Statutes 153.10
- minor: includes any person who has not attained the age of 18 years. See Florida Statutes 88.6011
- Parent: means a woman who gives birth to a child and who is not a gestational surrogate as defined in…. See Florida Statutes 153.10
- Person: includes a natural person, corporation, government or governmental subdivision or agency, business trust, estate, trust, partnership, or association, and any other legal entity. See Florida Statutes 153.10
- Placement: means the process of a parent or legal guardian surrendering a child for adoption and the prospective adoptive parents receiving and adopting the child and all actions by any adoption entity participating in placing the child. See Florida Statutes 153.10
- Preliminary hearing: A hearing where the judge decides whether there is enough evidence to make the defendant have a trial.
- To place: means the process whereby a parent or legal guardian surrenders a child for adoption and the prospective adoptive parents receive and adopt the child, and includes all actions by any person or adoption entity participating in the process. See Florida Statutes 153.10
- 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 88.6011
(b) The court shall appoint a guardian ad litem for the surrendered infant and order whatever investigation, home evaluation, and psychological evaluation are necessary to determine what is in the best interests of the surrendered infant.
(c) The court may not terminate parental rights solely on the basis that the parent left the infant at a hospital, emergency medical services station, or fire station in accordance with s. 383.50.
(d) The court shall enter a judgment with written findings of fact and conclusions of law.
(8) Within 7 business days after recording the judgment, the clerk of the court shall mail a copy of the judgment to the department, the petitioner, and any person whose consent was required, if known. The clerk shall execute a certificate of each mailing.
(9)(a) A judgment terminating parental rights pending adoption is voidable, and any later judgment of adoption of that minor is voidable, if, upon the motion of a parent, the court finds that a person knowingly gave false information that prevented the parent from timely making known his or her desire to assume parental responsibilities toward the minor or from exercising his or her parental rights. A motion under this subsection must be filed with the court originally entering the judgment. The motion must be filed within a reasonable time but not later than 1 year after the entry of the judgment terminating parental rights.
(b) No later than 30 days after the filing of a motion under this subsection, the court shall conduct a preliminary hearing to determine what contact, if any, will be permitted between a parent and the child pending resolution of the motion. Such contact may be allowed only if it is requested by a parent who has appeared at the hearing and the court determines that it is in the best interests of the child. If the court orders contact between a parent and the child, the order must be issued in writing as expeditiously as possible and must state with specificity any provisions regarding contact with persons other than those with whom the child resides.
(c) The court may not order scientific testing to determine the paternity or maternity of the minor until such time as the court determines that a previously entered judgment terminating the parental rights of that parent is voidable pursuant to paragraph (a), unless all parties agree that such testing is in the best interests of the child. Upon the filing of test results establishing that person’s maternity or paternity of the surrendered infant, the court may order visitation only if it appears to be in the best interests of the child.
(d) Within 45 days after the preliminary hearing, the court shall conduct a final hearing on the motion to set aside the judgment and shall enter its written order as expeditiously as possible thereafter.
(10) Except to the extent expressly provided in this section, proceedings initiated by a licensed child-placing agency for the termination of parental rights and subsequent adoption of a newborn left at a hospital, emergency medical services station, or fire station in accordance with s. 383.50 shall be conducted pursuant to this chapter.