Terms Used In Florida Statutes > Chapter 984 - Children and Families in Need of Services
Abandoned: means a situation in which the parent or legal custodian of a child or, in the absence of a parent or legal custodian, the person responsible for the child's welfare, while being able, makes no provision for the child's support and makes no effort to communicate with the child, which situation is sufficient to evince a willful rejection of parental obligations. See Florida Statutes 984.03
Abuse: means any willful act that results in any physical, mental, or sexual injury that causes or is likely to cause the child's physical, mental, or emotional health to be significantly impaired. See Florida Statutes 984.03
Adjudicatory hearing: means a hearing for the court to determine whether or not the facts support the allegations stated in the petition as is provided for under…. See Florida Statutes 984.03
Affidavit: A written statement of facts confirmed by the oath of the party making it, before a notary or officer having authority to administer oaths.
Allegation: something that someone says happened.
Answer: The formal written statement by a defendant responding to a civil complaint and setting forth the grounds for defense.
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.
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
Arraignment: A proceeding in which an individual who is accused of committing a crime is brought into court, told of the charges, and asked to plead guilty or not guilty.
assessment: means the gathering of information for the evaluation of a juvenile offender's or a child's physical, psychological, educational, vocational, and social condition and family environment as they relate to the child'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 984.03
Assets: (1) The property comprising the estate of a deceased person, or (2) the property in a trust account.
Chief judge: The judge who has primary responsibility for the administration of a court but also decides cases; chief judges are determined by seniority.
Child in need of services: means a child for whom there is no pending investigation into an allegation or suspicion of abuse, neglect, or abandonment; no pending referral alleging the child is delinquent; or no current supervision by the Department of Juvenile Justice or the Department of Children and Families for an adjudication of dependency or delinquency. See Florida Statutes 984.03
Complaint: A written statement by the plaintiff stating the wrongs allegedly committed by the defendant.
Contract: A legal written agreement that becomes binding when signed.
Conviction: A judgement of guilt against a criminal defendant.
delinquent act: means a violation of any law of this state, the United States, or any other state which is a misdemeanor or a felony or a violation of a county or municipal ordinance which would be punishable by incarceration if the violation were committed by an adult. See Florida Statutes 984.03
Dependent: A person dependent for support upon another.
dependent child: means a child who, pursuant to this chapter, is found by the court:
(a) To have been abandoned, abused, or neglected by the child's parents or other custodians. See Florida Statutes 984.03
Detention care: means the temporary care of a child in secure, nonsecure, or home detention, pending a court adjudication or disposition or execution of a court order. See Florida Statutes 984.03
Detention center or facility: means a facility used pending court adjudication or disposition or execution of court order for the temporary care of a child alleged or found to have committed a violation of law. See Florida Statutes 984.03
Diligent search: means the efforts of a social service agency to locate a parent or prospective parent whose identity or location is unknown, or a relative made known to the social services agency by the parent or custodian of a child. See Florida Statutes 984.03
Discovery: Lawyers' examination, before trial, of facts and documents in possession of the opponents to help the lawyers prepare for trial.
Disposition hearing: means a hearing in which the court determines the most appropriate dispositional services in the least restrictive available setting provided for under…. See Florida Statutes 984.03
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.
Family: means a collective body of persons, consisting of a child and a parent, guardian, adult custodian, or adult relative, in which:
(a) The persons reside in the same house or living unit; or
(b) The parent, guardian, adult custodian, or adult relative has a legal responsibility by blood, marriage, or court order to support or care for the child. See Florida Statutes 984.03
Family in need of services: means a family that has a child who is running away; who is persistently disobeying reasonable and lawful demands of the parent or legal custodian and is beyond the control of the parent or legal custodian; or who is habitually truant from school or engaging in other serious behaviors that place the child at risk of future abuse, neglect, or abandonment or at risk of entering the juvenile justice system. See Florida Statutes 984.03
Felony: A crime carrying a penalty of more than a year in prison.
Foster care: means care provided a child in a foster family or boarding home, group home, agency boarding home, child care institution, or any combination thereof. See Florida Statutes 984.03
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.
Habitually truant: means that:
(a) The child has 15 unexcused absences within 90 calendar days with or without the knowledge or justifiable consent of the child's parent or legal guardian, is subject to compulsory school attendance under…. See Florida Statutes 984.03
Home detention: means temporary custody of the child while the child is released to the custody of the parent, guardian, or custodian in a physically nonrestrictive environment under the supervision of the Department of Juvenile Justice staff pending adjudication, disposition, or placement. See Florida Statutes 984.03
Intake: means the initial acceptance and screening by the Department of Juvenile Justice of a complaint or a law enforcement report or probable cause affidavit of delinquency, family in need of services, or child in need of services to determine the recommendation to be taken in the best interests of the child, the family, and the community. See Florida Statutes 984.03
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.
Legal custody: means a legal status created by court order or letter of guardianship 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, train, 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 984.03
Licensed child-caring agency: means a person, society, association, or agency licensed by the Department of Children and Families to care for, receive, and board children. See Florida Statutes 984.03
Misdemeanor: Usually a petty offense, a less serious crime than a felony, punishable by less than a year of confinement.
Necessary medical treatment: means care that is necessary within a reasonable degree of medical certainty to prevent the deterioration of a child's condition or to alleviate immediate pain of a child. See Florida Statutes 984.03
Nonsecure detention: means temporary custody of the child while the child is in a residential home in the community in a physically nonrestrictive environment under the supervision of the Department of Juvenile Justice pending adjudication, disposition, or placement. See Florida Statutes 984.03
Obligation: An order placed, contract awarded, service received, or similar transaction during a given period that will require payments during the same or a future period.
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 984.03
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
Plea: In a criminal case, the defendant's statement pleading "guilty" or "not guilty" in answer to the charges, a declaration made in open court.
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.
Preventive services: means social services and other supportive and rehabilitative services provided to the parent of the child, the legal guardian of the child, or the custodian of the child and to the child for the purpose of averting the removal of the child from the home or disruption of a family which will or could result in an adjudication that orders the placement of a child into foster care or into the delinquency system or that will or could result in the child living on the street. See Florida Statutes 984.03
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.
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 984.03
Restitution: The court-ordered payment of money by the defendant to the victim for damages caused by the criminal action.
Reunification services: means social services and other supportive and rehabilitative services provided to the parent of the child, the legal guardian of the child, or the custodian of the child, whichever is applicable; the child; and, where appropriate, the foster parents of the child for the purpose of enabling a child who has been placed in temporary shelter care to return to his or her family at the earliest possible time. See Florida Statutes 984.03
Secure detention: means temporary custody of the child while the child is under the physical restriction of a detention center or facility pending adjudication, disposition, or placement. See Florida Statutes 984.03
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 place for the temporary care of a child who is alleged to be or who has been found to be dependent, a child from a family in need of services, or a child in need of services, pending court disposition before or after adjudication or after execution of a court order. See Florida Statutes 984.03
Staff-secure shelter: means a facility in which a child is supervised 24 hours a day by staff members who are awake while on duty. See Florida Statutes 984.03
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 984.03
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, detention, placement, or other disposition as authorized by law. See Florida Statutes 984.03
Temporary legal custody: means the relationship that a juvenile court creates between a child and an adult relative of the child, adult nonrelative approved by the court, or other person until a more permanent arrangement is ordered. See Florida Statutes 984.03
Testimony: Evidence presented orally by witnesses during trials or before grand juries.
Transcript: A written, word-for-word record of what was said, either in a proceeding such as a trial or during some other conversation, as in a transcript of a hearing or oral deposition.
Trial: A hearing that takes place when the defendant pleads "not guilty" and witnesses are required to come to court to give evidence.
Truancy petition: means a petition filed by the superintendent of schools alleging that a student subject to compulsory school attendance has had at least five unexcused absences, or absences for which the reasons are unknown, within a calendar month or 10 unexcused absences, or absences for which the reasons are unknown, within a 90-calendar-day period, or has had more than 15 unexcused absences in a 90-calendar-day period. See Florida Statutes 984.03
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
youth: means any unmarried person under the age of 18 who has not been emancipated by order of the court and who has been found or alleged to be dependent, in need of services, or from a family in need of services; or any married or unmarried person who is charged with a violation of law occurring prior to the time that person reached the age of 18 years. See Florida Statutes 984.03