abandonment: means a situation in which the parent or legal custodian of a child or, in the absence of a parent or legal custodian, the caregiver, while being able, has made no significant contribution to the child's care and maintenance or has failed to establish or maintain a substantial and positive relationship with the child, or both. See Florida Statutes 39.01
Abuse: means any willful act or threatened act that results in any physical, mental, or sexual abuse, injury, or harm that causes or is likely to cause the child's physical, mental, or emotional health to be significantly impaired. See Florida Statutes 39.01
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
Annuity: A periodic (usually annual) payment of a fixed sum of money for either the life of the recipient or for a fixed number of years. A series of payments under a contract from an insurance company, a trust company, or an individual. Annuity payments are made at regular intervals over a period of more than one full year.
Appeal: A request made after a trial, asking another court (usually the court of appeals) to decide whether the trial was conducted properly. To make such a request is "to appeal" or "to take an appeal." One who appeals is called the appellant.
Appellate: About appeals; an appellate court has the power to review the judgement of another lower court or tribunal.
Appraisal: A determination of property value.
Appropriation: The provision of funds, through an annual appropriations act or a permanent law, for federal agencies to make payments out of the Treasury for specified purposes. The formal federal spending process consists of two sequential steps: authorization
Armed forces: means the United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. See Florida Statutes 250.01
Armory: means a building or group of buildings used primarily for housing and training troops or for storing military property, supplies, or records. See Florida Statutes 250.01
Army National Guard: means that part of the National Guard of a state or territory of the United States, Puerto Rico, or the District of Columbia, active or inactive, which is:
(a) A land force;
(b) Trained, and has its officers appointed, under the United States Constitution;
(c) Organized, armed, and equipped wholly or partially at federal expense; and
Arrest: Taking physical custody of a person by lawful authority.
assessment: means the gathering of information for the evaluation of a child's and caregiver's physical, psychiatric, psychological, or mental health; developmental delays or challenges; and educational, vocational, and social condition and family environment as they relate to the child's and caregiver's need for rehabilitative and treatment services, including substance abuse treatment services, mental health services, developmental services, literacy services, medical services, family services, and other specialized services, as appropriate. See Florida Statutes 39.01
Assets: (1) The property comprising the estate of a deceased person, or (2) the property in a trust account.
Attachment: A procedure by which a person's property is seized to pay judgments levied by the court.
Bankruptcy: Refers to statutes and judicial proceedings involving persons or businesses that cannot pay their debts and seek the assistance of the court in getting a fresh start. Under the protection of the bankruptcy court, debtors may discharge their debts, perhaps by paying a portion of each debt. Bankruptcy judges preside over these proceedings.
Bequest: Property gifted by will.
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
Charity: An agency, institution, or organization in existence and operating for the benefit of an indefinite number of persons and conducted for educational, religious, scientific, medical, or other beneficent purposes.
Child Protection Team: means a team of professionals established by the Department of Health to receive referrals from the protective investigators and protective supervision staff of the department and to provide specialized and supportive services to the program in processing child abuse, abandonment, or neglect cases. See Florida Statutes 39.01
Dependent: A person dependent for support upon another.
Devise: To gift property by will.
Diligent search: means the efforts of a social service agency to locate a parent or prospective parent whose identity or location is unknown, initiated as soon as the social service agency is made aware of the existence of such parent, with the search progress reported at each court hearing until the parent is either identified and located or the court excuses further search. See Florida Statutes 39.01
Disaster: means any natural, technological, or civil emergency that causes damage of sufficient severity and magnitude to result in a declaration of a state of emergency by a county, the Governor, or the President of the United States. See Florida Statutes 252.34
Dismissal: The dropping of a case by the judge without further consideration or hearing. Source:
Emergency: means any occurrence, or threat thereof, whether natural, technological, or manmade, in war or in peace, which results or may result in substantial injury or harm to the population or substantial damage to or loss of property. See Florida Statutes 252.34
Enlisted personnel: means persons enlisted, inducted, called, or conscripted into an armed force in an enlisted grade. See Florida Statutes 250.01
Equitable: Pertaining to civil suits in "equity" rather than in "law." In English legal history, the courts of "law" could order the payment of damages and could afford no other remedy. See damages. A separate court of "equity" could order someone to do something or to cease to do something. See, e.g., injunction. In American jurisprudence, the federal courts have both legal and equitable power, but the distinction is still an important one. For example, a trial by jury is normally available in "law" cases but not in "equity" cases. Source: U.S. Courts
Escrow: Money given to a third party to be held for payment until certain conditions are met.
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.
Fair market value: The price at which an asset would change hands in a transaction between a willing, informed buyer and a willing, informed seller.
False report: means a report of abuse, neglect, or abandonment of a child to the central abuse hotline, which report is maliciously made for the purpose of:
(a) Harassing, embarrassing, or harming another person;
(b) Personal financial gain for the reporting person;
(c) Acquiring custody of a child; or
(d) Personal benefit for the reporting person in any other private dispute involving a child. See Florida Statutes 39.01
Family: means a collective body of persons, consisting of a child and a parent, legal custodian, or adult relative, in which:
(a) The persons reside in the same house or living unit; or
(b) The parent, legal custodian, or adult relative has a legal responsibility by blood, marriage, or court order to support or care for the child. See Florida Statutes 39.01
Felony: A crime carrying a penalty of more than a year in prison.
Fiscal year: The fiscal year is the accounting period for the government. For the federal government, this begins on October 1 and ends on September 30. The fiscal year is designated by the calendar year in which it ends; for example, fiscal year 2006 begins on October 1, 2005 and ends on September 30, 2006.
Foreclosure: A legal process in which property that is collateral or security for a loan may be sold to help repay the loan when the loan is in default. Source: OCC
Formation: means any one of the following activities:
Fraud: Intentional deception resulting in injury to another.
Gift: A voluntary transfer or conveyance of property without consideration, or for less than full and adequate consideration based on fair market value.
Grade: means a step or degree in a graduated scale of office or military rank which is established and designated as a grade by law or rule. See Florida Statutes 250.01
Grand jury: agreement providing that a lender will delay exercising its rights (in the case of a mortgage,
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
Impending danger: means a situation in which family behaviors, attitudes, motives, emotions, or situations pose a threat that may not be currently active but that can be anticipated to become active and to have severe effects on a child at any time. See Florida Statutes 39.01
Indictment: The formal charge issued by a grand jury stating that there is enough evidence that the defendant committed the crime to justify having a trial; it is used primarily for felonies.
Injunction: An order of the court prohibiting (or compelling) the performance of a specific act to prevent irreparable damage or injury.
Institutional child abuse or neglect: means situations of known or suspected child abuse or neglect in which the person allegedly perpetrating the child abuse or neglect is an employee of a public or private school, public or private day care center, residential home, institution, facility, or agency or any other person at such institution responsible for the child's welfare as defined in subsection (54). See Florida Statutes 39.01
Interest rate: The amount paid by a borrower to a lender in exchange for the use of the lender's money for a certain period of time. Interest is paid on loans or on debt instruments, such as notes or bonds, either at regular intervals or as part of a lump sum payment when the issue matures. Source: OCC
Joint resolution: A legislative measure which requires the approval of both chambers.
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.
Lawsuit: A legal action started by a plaintiff against a defendant based on a complaint that the defendant failed to perform a legal duty, resulting in harm to the plaintiff.
Lease: A contract transferring the use of property or occupancy of land, space, structures, or equipment in consideration of a payment (e.g., rent). Source: OCC
Legal custody: means a legal status created by a court which vests in a custodian of the person or guardian, whether an agency or an individual, the right to have physical custody of the child and the right and duty to protect, nurture, guide, and discipline the child and to provide him or her with food, shelter, education, and ordinary medical, dental, psychiatric, and psychological care. See Florida Statutes 39.01
Legislative Auditing Committee: means a committee or committees designated by joint rule of the Legislature, by the President of the Senate or the Speaker of the House of Representatives, or by agreement between the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives. See Florida Statutes 1.01
Liabilities: The aggregate of all debts and other legal obligations of a particular person or legal entity.
Licensed child-caring agency: means a person, society, association, or agency licensed by the department to care for, receive, and board children. See Florida Statutes 39.01
Lien: A claim against real or personal property in satisfaction of a debt.
Litigation: A case, controversy, or lawsuit. Participants (plaintiffs and defendants) in lawsuits are called litigants.
Medical neglect: means the failure to provide or the failure to allow needed care as recommended by a health care practitioner for a physical injury, illness, medical condition, or impairment, or the failure to seek timely and appropriate medical care for a serious health problem that a reasonable person would have recognized as requiring professional medical attention. See Florida Statutes 39.01
Military post: means an armory, facility, installation, or real property under the supervision or control of the Armory Board which is used primarily for housing and training troops; performing administrative duties; or storing military property, supplies, or records. See Florida Statutes 250.01
Misdemeanor: Usually a petty offense, a less serious crime than a felony, punishable by less than a year of confinement.
Mortgage: The written agreement pledging property to a creditor as collateral for a loan.
Municipality: means a municipality created pursuant to general or special law authorized or recognized pursuant to…. See Florida Statutes 165.031
National Guard Bureau: means the joint Bureau of the Department of the Army and the Department of the Air Force within the Department of Defense, as defined in 10 U. See Florida Statutes 250.01
Newspaper of general circulation: means a newspaper printed in the language most commonly spoken in the area within which it circulates, which is readily available for purchase by all inhabitants in its area of circulation, but does not include a newspaper intended primarily for members of a particular professional or occupational group, a newspaper the primary function of which is to carry legal notices, or a newspaper that is given away primarily to distribute advertising. See Florida Statutes 165.031
Next of kin: means an adult relative of a child who is the child's brother, sister, grandparent, aunt, uncle, or first cousin. See Florida Statutes 39.01
Nonrelative: means a person unrelated by blood or marriage or a relative outside the fifth degree of consanguinity. See Florida Statutes 39.01
Office: means the Office of Adoption and Child Protection within the Executive Office of the Governor. See Florida Statutes 39.01
Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability: means an entity designated by joint rule of the Legislature or by agreement between the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives. See Florida Statutes 1.01
Oversight: Committee review of the activities of a Federal agency or program.
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
Partnership: A voluntary contract between two or more persons to pool some or all of their assets into a business, with the agreement that there will be a proportional sharing of profits and losses.
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
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
Personal property: All property that is not real property.
Physician: means any licensed physician, dentist, podiatric physician, or optometrist and includes any intern or resident. See Florida Statutes 39.01
Plaintiff: The person who files the complaint in a civil lawsuit.
Pleadings: Written statements of the parties in a civil case of their positions. In the federal courts, the principal pleadings are the complaint and the answer.
political subdivision: include counties, cities, towns, villages, special tax school districts, special road and bridge districts, bridge districts, and all other districts in this state. See Florida Statutes 1.01
Post commander: means the officer in charge of a military post or training site, a National Guard armory, or a portion of a National Guard armory when colocated in an Armed Forces Reserve Center. See Florida Statutes 250.01
Power of attorney: A written instrument which authorizes one person to act as another's agent or attorney. The power of attorney may be for a definite, specific act, or it may be general in nature. The terms of the written power of attorney may specify when it will expire. If not, the power of attorney usually expires when the person granting it dies. Source: OCC
Precedent: A court decision in an earlier case with facts and law similar to a dispute currently before a court. Precedent will ordinarily govern the decision of a later similar case, unless a party can show that it was wrongly decided or that it differed in some significant way.
Present danger: means a significant and clearly observable family condition that is occurring at the current moment and is already endangering or threatening to endanger the child. See Florida Statutes 39.01
Presiding officer: A majority-party Senator who presides over the Senate and is charged with maintaining order and decorum, recognizing Members to speak, and interpreting the Senate's rules, practices and precedents.
Probable cause: A reasonable ground for belief that the offender violated a specific law.
Probation: A sentencing alternative to imprisonment in which the court releases convicted defendants under supervision as long as certain conditions are observed.
Prosecute: To charge someone with a crime. A prosecutor tries a criminal case on behalf of the government.
Protective investigation: means the acceptance of a report alleging child abuse, abandonment, or neglect, as defined in this chapter, by the central abuse hotline or the acceptance of a report of other dependency by the department; the investigation of each report; the determination of whether action by the court is warranted; the determination of the disposition of each report without court or public agency action when appropriate; and the referral of a child to another public or private agency when appropriate. See Florida Statutes 39.01
Protective investigator: means an authorized agent of the department who receives and investigates reports of child abuse, abandonment, or neglect; who, as a result of the investigation, may recommend that a dependency petition be filed for the child; and who performs other duties necessary to carry out the required actions of the protective investigation function. See Florida Statutes 39.01
Protective supervision: means a legal status in dependency cases which permits the child to remain safely in his or her own home or other nonlicensed placement under the supervision of an agent of the department and which must be reviewed by the court during the period of supervision. See Florida Statutes 39.01
Public defender: Represent defendants who can't afford an attorney in criminal matters.
Real property: Land, and all immovable fixtures erected on, growing on, or affixed to the land.
Recess: A temporary interruption of the legislative business.
Relative: means a grandparent, great-grandparent, sibling, first cousin, aunt, uncle, great-aunt, great-uncle, niece, or nephew, whether related by the whole or half blood, by affinity, or by adoption. See Florida Statutes 39.01
Remainder: An interest in property that takes effect in the future at a specified time or after the occurrence of some event, such as the death of a life tenant.
Reporter: Makes a record of court proceedings and prepares a transcript, and also publishes the court's opinions or decisions (in the courts of appeals).
Restitution: The court-ordered payment of money by the defendant to the victim for damages caused by the criminal action.
Safety plan: means a plan created to control present or impending danger using the least intrusive means appropriate to protect a child when a parent, caregiver, or legal custodian is unavailable, unwilling, or unable to do so. See Florida Statutes 39.01
Service of process: The service of writs or summonses to the appropriate party.
Servicemember: means any person serving as a member of the United States Armed Forces on active duty or state active duty and all members of the Florida National Guard and United States Reserve Forces. See Florida Statutes 250.01
Settlement: Parties to a lawsuit resolve their difference without having a trial. Settlements often involve the payment of compensation by one party in satisfaction of the other party's claims.
Shelter: means a placement with a relative or a nonrelative, or in a licensed home or facility, for the temporary care of a child who is alleged to be or who has been found to be dependent, pending court disposition before or after adjudication. See Florida Statutes 39.01
Sibling: means :
(a) A child who shares a birth parent or legal parent with one or more other children; or
(b) A child who has lived together in a family with one or more other children whom he or she identifies as siblings. See Florida Statutes 39.01
State active duty: means full-time duty in active military service of the State of Florida when ordered by the Governor or Adjutant General in accordance with…. See Florida Statutes 250.01
Statute: A law passed by a legislature.
Subpoena: A command to a witness to appear and give testimony.
Substance abuse: means using, without medical reason, any psychoactive or mood-altering drug, including alcohol, in such a manner as to induce impairment resulting in dysfunctional social behavior. See Florida Statutes 39.01
Summons: Another word for subpoena used by the criminal justice system.
Taken into custody: means the status of a child immediately when temporary physical control over the child is attained by a person authorized by law, pending the child's release or placement. See Florida Statutes 39.01
Testify: Answer questions in court.
Testimony: Evidence presented orally by witnesses during trials or before grand juries.
Tort: A civil wrong or breach of a duty to another person, as outlined by law. A very common tort is negligent operation of a motor vehicle that results in property damage and personal injury in an automobile accident.
Trial: A hearing that takes place when the defendant pleads "not guilty" and witnesses are required to come to court to give evidence.
Variable Rate: Having a "variable" rate means that the APR changes from time to time based on fluctuations in an external rate, normally the Prime Rate. This external rate is known as the "index." If the index changes, the variable rate normally changes. Also see Fixed Rate.
Verdict: The decision of a petit jury or a judge.
Victim: means any child who has sustained or is threatened with physical, mental, or emotional injury identified in a report involving child abuse, neglect, or abandonment, or child-on-child sexual abuse. See Florida Statutes 39.01
willful: refers to the intent to perform an action, not to the intent to achieve a result or to cause an injury. See Florida Statutes 39.01
Writ: A formal written command, issued from the court, requiring the performance of a specific act.
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