DCF Child Abuse And Neglect Cases

How is a Child Abuse and Neglect Case Initiated?

A child abuse and neglect case comes into existence by either the Department of Children and Families (DCF) being directly contacted or a call is made to the Florida Abuse Hotline by an individual who knows of or suspects child abuse, neglect, or abandonment of a child by a caregiver. DCF then will conduct an investigation regarding the incident reported. Chapter 39, Florida Statutes, defines and guides the legal process which may be initiated by DCF where DCF determines that facts exist to substantiate the likelihood that a minor in Florida has been neglected, abused, or abandoned by a caregiver.

In instances where DCF contends probable cause exists such that a court would fine that abuse, neglect or abandonment of a child has occurred, a child can be removed from a family and legal proceedings undertaken pursuant to Chapter 39, Florida Statutes. In such circumstances, the parents of the child, as well as any caregiver for the child may be required to appear before the court to defend their actions or inaction constituting the alleged abuse, neglect or abandonment of the child. These are complicated proceedings where a parent or caregiver requires legal representation. All facts regarding the family member and/or caregiver are placed under a microscope in an evidentiary process. While the legal proceedings are pending, the child can be placed in foster care or possibly with other family members until legal proceedings are resolved.

False Reporting.

Although child abuse, neglect and abandonment regulations are absolutely necessary for the protection of children, there are numerous instances where reports are based upon half-truths and/or in other instances the allegations or accusations are completely false. False reports of child abuse can come from children seeking attention or attempting to avoid reasonable forms of discipline, and may also result from animosity between parents, such as when parents are in the midst of divorce and custody battles over their children. Needless to say the ramifications of a false report of child abuse can be serious, not only from the perspective of the child being removed from their family and home, but also from the perspective of a parent or caregiver being exposed to substantial criticism, a required treatment plan, and possible criminal law violations.

Free Consultation.

Peeler Law Firm has represented parents and caregivers in all aspects of child abuse and neglect proceedings. Stan Peeler is available to meet with you and discuss any circumstance where you as a parent or caregiver is dealing with a child abuse case. The initial consultation is free of charge. Please contact us at 850-462-2563.