alcohol abuse Books child child abuse child drinking child welfare drug use Laws legal custody parental drug use substance abuse

Child Welfare | Drinking, Drug Use, and Addiction in Florida

ARTICLE OVERVIEW: This text supplies an summary of kid welfare methods in Florida. It explains what occurs when abuse or neglect are reported in conjunction with substance use, how these stories are processed, and what occurs to the adults and youngsters concerned in the kid welfare system.



Why Did They Take My Child?

In case you’ve discovered you and your loved ones contained in the Florida State Child Welfare system, we’re right here for you. We’ll define what steps you could take…and how the system works under. However first, you should know that in case you are utilizing medicine or alcohol round your youngsters, Florida State sees that as both:

  1. Abuse
  2. Abandonment
  3. Neglect

Medicine change individuals. They alter the mind and character. In the event you’re consuming an excessive amount of or utilizing medicine, you aren’t a nasty individual! However, you do want medical assist. Name us on the telephone quantity listed right here. We will help clarify your remedy choices.

Simply know that in case you’ve entered the Child Welfare System, the Florida Division of Youngsters and Households will take sure steps. Studies of alleged baby abuse or neglect are taken critically. Consequently, you can lose authorized custody of your youngsters. They may be positioned in foster care and even adopted by one other household.

Utilizing medicine doesn’t imply you’re a nasty individual. You simply want medical assist.

Child Welfare Legal guidelines

Child Welfare legal guidelines exist to guard youngsters. Within the Sunshine State, there are numerous legal guidelines in place that goal to safe a toddler’s security.

Beneath Florida regulation, ANYONE who suspects that a youngster is in hazard is required to report the difficulty to the Division of Youngsters and Households.

Florida State Ann. Statute § 39.201

A report is required when any individual is aware of, or has affordable trigger to suspect that a youngster is abused, deserted, or uncared for by a father or mother, authorized custodian, caregiver, or different individual liable for the kid’s welfare, or that a baby is in want of supervision and care and has no father or mother, authorized custodian, or accountable grownup relative instantly recognized and obtainable to offer supervision and care.

One other related part of regulation that defines parental drug use as baby abuse is discovered in The 2018 Florida Statutes, Title V, JUDICIAL BRANCH, Chapter 39, also referred to as “PROCEEDINGS RELATING TO CHILDREN.”

Quotation: Ann. Stat. § 39.01(30)(a)(2), (g)

‘Harm’ to a toddler’s well being or welfare can happen when any individual:

1. Purposely provides a toddler poison, alcohol, medicine, or different substances that considerably have an effect on the kid’s conduct, motor coordination, judgment, or that outcome in illness or inner damage.

2. Exposes a toddler to a managed substance or alcohol. Publicity to a managed substance or alcohol is established by:

◦ A check administered at delivery that indicated that the kid’s blood, urine, or meconium contained any quantity of alcohol or a managed substance or metabolites of such substances, the presence of which was not the results of medical remedy administered to the mom or the new child toddler.

◦ Proof of in depth, abusive, and persistent use of a managed substance or alcohol by a mum or dad when the kid is demonstrably adversely affected by such utilization.

The phrases ‘drugs’ and ‘controlled substances’ imply prescribed drugs not prescribed for the kid or the dad or mum or not administered as prescribed, and managed substances as outlined in Schedule I or Schedule II of § 893.03.

These are simply a few the various legal guidelines that goal to guard youngsters in Florida. Different legal guidelines exist that define what occurs inside the youngster welfare system, in addition to custody and visitation points. To seek out all legal guidelines or statute info for Florida associated to Child Welfare, please go to the U.S. authorities web site: Child Welfare State Regulation Search

Substance abuse is legally seen as youngster abuse. Name us to study how one can get higher with remedy.

Who Has Reported Me?

Any involved individual can report suspicions of kid abuse or neglect. To report a mother or father who’s consuming or utilizing medicine, anybody can name Child Protecting Providers on a particular hotline quantity.

Division of Youngsters and Households HOTLINE: 1-800-955-8771

The Florida Abuse Hotline accepts stories 24 hours a day and 7 days every week. Most studies are made by “mandatory reporters”. These are often professionals who’re required by State regulation to report their suspicions. Within the State of Florida, mandated reporters embrace:

  • Daycare staff
  • Foster care, residential, or institutional staff
  • Judges
  • Regulation enforcement officers
  • Skilled baby care staff
  • Medical professionals
  • Social staff
  • Religious healers
  • Academics or different faculty officers or personnel

All reporters’ info is confidential. The identify of any individual reporting baby abuse, neglect or abandonment, is probably not launched to any individual aside from these allowed to have entry to this info in accordance with Florida Statute.

So, you gained’t have the ability to know the identify of the one that’s reported you as a result of that is confidential by regulation. The identify of the reporter is probably not launched to any individual aside from staff of the Division of Youngsters and Household Providers chargeable for baby protecting providers, the central abuse hotline, regulation enforcement, the kid safety workforce, or the suitable State lawyer, with out the written consent of the individual reporting.

Additional, for those who attempt to discover reference to a report, Florida State Hotline counselors won’t acknowledge the existence of any report, won’t acknowledge that they’ve beforehand spoken to a specific caller, nor will they launch any info offered by a caller or any info contained in a report. Any individual with a statutory proper to a report copy should contact the native investigative workplace.

For those who consider confidentiality has been damaged, contact the county protecting investigations workplace the place the investigation is being dealt with and ask to talk to a Protecting Investigations Supervisor or contact the Shopper Relations Coordinator in your county.

Can’t give up utilizing by yourself? Name us. We may help.

What Occurs Once I’m Reported?

Stories of consuming or drug use round youngsters are usually acquired by Hotline Counselors. The Florida Abuse Hotline is dedicated to offering a transparent understanding of the Division of Youngsters and Households or different state and group businesses’ providers.

Stories of kid abuse are both accepted or not accepted.

Previous to concluding every name, the Hotline counselor is required to tell every caller if a report was accepted or not. When a report just isn’t accepted, the Hotline Counselor might present applicable referral info to the caller so their considerations could be addressed by the suitable entity.

Accepted Stories. A report is “accepted” when there’s adequate info to recommend that substance abuse is happening round youngsters. In these instances, an investigation is warranted. Screened in stories meet the State’s authorized definition of abuse or neglect.

Not Accepted Reviews. A report could also be “screened out” if there’s not sufficient info on which to comply with up or if the state of affairs reported doesn’t meet the State’s authorized definition of abuse or neglect. In these situations, the Hotline counselor might refer the individual reporting the incident to different group providers or regulation enforcement for extra assist.

All telephone calls to the Florida State Child Abuse Hotline are required to be documented in the Hotline’s system of document database. This database is maintained in compliance with Florida legal guidelines. Instances could also be thought-about for referral to the county workplace as a prevention referral. If the knowledge isn’t despatched as a prevention referral, then it’s maintained in the Hotline’s database.

Addiction is a medical situation that responds to remedy. Get higher…at this time!

What Occurs After a Report is Accepted?

Abuse of medicine or alcohol can have adverse results on youngsters. In case you are consuming or utilizing round your youngsters, you endanger their:

So, what occurs subsequent?

STEP 1: If a report of abuse is accepted, the Hotline Counselor sends a typed report of the allegations to the native investigation County workplace the place the sufferer is situated, often inside one hour of the telephone name. This is usually a Sherriff’s workplace or an area Division of Youngsters and Households workplace.

STEP 2: After the report of abuse is shipped to the native workplace, it’s assigned to a Child Protecting Investigator (CPI). The investigator has as much as 24 hours to provoke contact with the themes of the report. In conditions in which it’s believed the sufferer is at imminent danger of hurt, the investigator will reply as quickly as potential.

STEP three: All instances are concurrently transmitted to native Child Safety Groups (CPT) for evaluation. The CPT accomplished face-to-face medical evaluations, if wanted. If there’s want for medical evaluation, this could embrace forensic interviews, household social assessments, medical exams, psychiatric and psychological evaluations. Reviews are processed inside 4 working days of receipt.

STEP three: The CPI conducts an investigation. The investigation goals to look at the validity of the present alleged maltreatment and the probability of re-abuse. This begins with a assessment of consumption info, background checks, and prior historical past. Florida statute mandates that each one investigations embrace an onsite evaluation of the kid’s residence and face-to-face interviews with:

• The kid
• The mother and father
• Different siblings/youngsters
• Different adults in the family

These interviews are essential to assess danger of hurt to the kid. A house go to can also be a chance for the investigator to watch the house surroundings.

Voluntary habit remedy is a step in the direction of reunification together with your youngster. Why wait? Get assist immediately.

STEP four: If essential, the CPI refers the case to the CPT.

STEP 5: The CPI works with the CPT to find out the result of the investigation and service wants of the kid. Providers can embrace:

  • Disaster counseling.
  • Emergency medical consideration.
  • Emergency psychological well being care.
  • Meals, clothes, and shelter.
  • Social providers coordinated by a Group Based mostly Care (CBC) agent.
  • Removing from the house.

STEP 6: The state lawyer and regulation enforcement have to be notified if the quick security or well-being of a kid is endangered. The regulation requires investigators to develop a Security Plan to make sure the security of a kid when threats of great hurt are recognized. Substance and alcohol abuse are thought-about threats of great hurt.

If interventions/providers won’t make sure the baby’s security in the house, then the removing of the kid is a part of the Security Plan.

When a CPI notes that habit is current, state regulation defines substance abuse as a circumstances the place your youngster can’t safely keep at house even when useful providers have been offered to you. In these instances, your baby may be taken to a shelter placement for his or her personal security, so the state of affairs could be investigated extra.

STEP 7: A remaining case abstract report is accomplished. Every last case abstract consists of an evaluation of danger. Substance and alcohol abuse current vital danger of great youngster abuse accidents in addition to youngster deaths. This abstract outlines these and consists of an summary of household functioning. The conclusion and suggestion part consists of rationale for any findings as, general evaluation, and identifies the sort(s) of intervention providers that are applicable. All case actions ought to be accomplished and instances closed inside 60 days following the date of referral.

Youngsters wants their mother and father. You’ll be a greater mother or father if you study to stay drug-free.

STEP eight: In case you are consuming or utilizing medicine, your case might be referred to the Juvenile Dependency Courtroom. The protecting investigator will inform you the place your youngster is staying until there’s some purpose to consider that it is going to be harmful so that you can know the place your baby is. As your case begins, the decide will determine in case your youngster must be:

  • Returned to you.
  • Positioned in the care of a relative, a trusted household pal who just isn’t a relative.
  • •Positioned in a licensed foster care residence.
  • Positioned elsewhere.

STEP 9: Florida regulation permits the kid welfare system to put youngsters in care if these 4 standards for removing have been met:

  1. It’s in the most effective curiosity of the kid.
  2. There’s an imminent danger of hurt to the kid.
  3. There’s possible trigger.
  4. Affordable efforts to stop removing have been made.

The Tiered Providers Protocol is as follows (65C-30.009):

  • Non-Judicial In-House Providers
  • Judicial In-Residence Providers
  • Courtroom Ordered Relative/Non-Relative Placements
  • Licensed Care

A NOTE ON CONFIDENTIALITY: All data and studies of the Child Safety Groups are confidential and exempt from the provisions of s. 119.07(1), F.S., the Florida Public Data Regulation, and s. 456.057, F.S., relating to possession and management of affected person data. Staff data shall not be disclosed, besides, upon request, to the state lawyer, regulation enforcement, DOH, and different crucial professionals, in furtherance of the remedy or further evaluative wants of the kid, by order of the courtroom, or to well being plan payers, restricted to that info used for insurance coverage reimbursement functions.

Prepared for change? Name us to speak with a confidential hotline operator.

What’s Juvenile or Dependency Courtroom?

Dependency courtroom is the place the State of Florida hears instances referred to the justice system from the Division of Youngsters and Households. It’s a mixture of civil, household, and legal courts as Dependency Judges work from the “best interest of the child” commonplace.

Throughout trial, Judges decide whether or not or not youngsters ought to be deemed “dependent” and faraway from the house. There are a number of sorts of courtroom hearings and it is crucial so that you can know what occurs at every sort of listening to. Plus, it’s essential that you simply reply to courtroom orders inside fast, absolute cut-off dates. Judges are sometimes unforgiving in the direction of mother and father who’re delinquent or delay these proceedings.

STEP 1: Shelter Listening to

In case your baby has been taken from your house, then a shelter listening to shall be held inside 24 hours of when your baby was taken into protecting care. On the shelter listening to, the decide will take a look at the preliminary proof and determine in case your baby:

  • Might be stored protected if returned to your property.
  • Will profit from providers offered by way of your own home.
  • Might be protected in the care of a relative.
  • Shall be protected in the care of a non-relative.
  • Ought to keep in licensed foster care.

If you recognize of a relative or a trusted non-relative who might present your baby with a protected, short-term residence, you will need to let the protecting investigator, the household providers counselor, your lawyer, or the decide find out about that individual and his/her handle.

STEP 2: Arraignment Listening to

After the shelter listening to, you’ll seem in courtroom for an arraignment listening to. By the point of this listening to you’ll have had an opportunity to see the “petition,” which is a doc that lists the explanations that the Division of Youngsters and Households has documented about how why your baby is in danger and must be taken into care. Talk about the petition together with your lawyer earlier than this listening to.

STEP three: Trial, or Adjudicatory Listening to

Dependency courtroom culminates with an adjudicatory listening to. In dependency instances, the time period for the trial is “adjudicatory hearing.” If the events can’t come to an settlement on their very own or by way of mediation and you don’t comply with the allegations in the petition then your case will go to trial. On the adjudicatory listening to, each side will have the ability to current witnesses and be capable of query the witnesses of the opposite aspect.

After listening to all of the proof, the decide will determine if the Division of Youngsters and Households has precisely confirmed the allegations which were documented in the petition, or not. If the decide finds that the allegations weren’t proved, the case might be dismissed and your baby will probably be returned to you. If the decide finds that the Division of Youngsters and Households appropriately documented allegations in the petition, the case will probably be set for a disposition listening to.

STEP four: Disposition Listening to

On the disposition listening to, the decide will assessment the precise suggestions in your case together with a proposed plan of motion – referred to as a case plan – which can embrace duties you will want to comply with. The Dependency Courtroom might take a number of of the next actions:

  1. Launch your baby to you, with a caseworker offering providers to make sure your youngster will stay protected whereas in your house.
  2. Order the kid to be positioned in the house of the opposite father or mother, with a relative, with a non-relative, or in a licensed foster house.
  3. Make selections relating to visiting your youngster, or the place you and your youngster might reside, or order you to take part in counseling, parenting packages, or different comparable packages.

Name us to study remedy choices. You can begin your life over anytime you’re prepared.


In Florida, the Dependency or Juvenile Courts supply an alternative choice to conventional courtroom proceedings, known as “mediation”. Mediation is an alternative choice to courtroom. The method can permits you to settle the problems and keep away from courtroom. It provides everybody an opportunity to return to an settlement on how you can deal with the case. For those who can cooperate and talk about your views, you could have a extra doubtless probability of remaining together with your youngster or being reunified together with your baby earlier.

The method is led by a “mediator”. A mediator is a impartial one that will assist everybody share what they consider the state of affairs in a productive means.

Mediations are confidential; they don’t happen in a courtroom and they don’t seem to be recorded. If everybody involves an settlement in the course of the mediation, the ultimate settlement shall be despatched to the decide. No different info apart from a last settlement will probably be despatched to the decide.

What Occurs to Mother and father

There are a selection of choices that information what occurs throughout a toddler welfare case in Florida. Mother and father are usually provided help and remedy providers or are required by a courtroom to take part in providers that may assist hold their youngsters protected. In low danger instances, in-home providers and helps could also be offered, together with:

  • Addiction remedy
  • Child Care
  • Counseling
  • Mum or dad schooling
  • Security planning

However in case you are an lively drug consumer, or are consuming round your youngsters, your youngsters could also be taken from you. You might also be reported to the police. Here’s a evaluation of the primary baby welfare interventions in instances of drug use, consuming, or habit in the State of Florida:

Voluntary Providers may also help households resolve issues earlier than they get uncontrolled. Intensive providers could also be offered to a household as an alternative of courtroom involvement.

Courtroom Ordered Providers with Household Intact permits the kid or youngsters to stay in the house with the mum or dad or mother and father underneath the supervision of the Division of Youngsters and Households and jurisdiction of the courtroom. Mother and father can be required to finish duties in their case plan which are monitored by each state techniques.

Placement Providers are offered when the kid can’t safely stay at house. The aim is to return your youngster house as quickly as s/he’s not in hazard. In case your youngster is turns into a Florida State “dependent” baby, the courtroom will maintain common hearings to evaluate your progress towards finishing your case plan. You’ll be notified of the dates and occasions of those hearings and you could attend them.

What Occurs to Youngsters

Relying on the severity of the case, youngsters might stay at house or be eliminated into foster care. When your baby is taken into shelter, s/he’s someplace protected. This determination is decided by a Dependency Courtroom Decide based mostly on the recognized dangers to the youngsters’s well-being. The mission is to make sure that the youngsters are in a protected surroundings.

When placement is required for a kid liable to hurt, each effort is made to rearrange for applicable and protected placement. These selections are made on a case by case foundation. In some instances, the youngsters could be positioned with permitted kin or different people the kid might know personally. In different instances, the kid(ren) could also be positioned in foster care.

Be the father or mother you’ve all the time needed to be. You are able to do it!

What Occurs if I Proceed to Drink or Use?

In the event you relapse or proceed to make use of, you danger dropping your youngsters.

In some instances, youngsters are put up for adoption. Or, your baby might be positioned with a relative, a non-relative, or a licensed foster care residence…both briefly or for good.

NOTE THIS: The Florida authorities need you to be together with your youngsters! You might be reunified together with your youngsters if you’ll be able to full remedy and make a life change for the higher. Typically, this could take months to years. This is the reason mother and father obtain providers reminiscent of parenting courses, drug remedy, psychological well being providers, and family administration.

Can I Get My Child Again?

Sure, you will get your youngster again! However it is advisable to present the Dependency Courtroom that you’ll be able to present a protected house on your youngsters.

The most effective place for a kid is together with his or her circle of relatives…so long as the kid is protected and cared for. Child welfare legal guidelines and providers are made to assist maintain households. Youngsters stay out of their mother and father’ care solely when, in the opinion of the courtroom, the youngsters are usually not protected in their very own houses.

Subsequently, all providers provided to you as a dad or mum are designed to make sure that your baby may be safely returned to you. In case your baby is briefly eliminated out of your care, the courtroom expects sure factor from you. To get your youngster again, you’ll want to fulfill your whole obligations.

This could embrace:

  • Going to habit remedy or rehab.
  • Getting counseling to beat a drug or alcohol abuse drawback.
  • Establishing a house.
  • Offering housing, meals, and different requirements on your youngsters.
  • Visiting your youngsters often and staying concerned in their lives.

There could also be different steps that you simply, your caseworker, and the courtroom will work out so that you can take in order to be reunited together with your youngsters. To be sure to are fulfilling your duties, it’s important that the caseworker be capable of contact you always. You will need to notify your caseworker each time you modify your tackle, telephone quantity, or place of employment.

Reference Sources: Florida Community of Child Advocacy Facilities: REPORTING CHILD ABUSE OR NEGLECT

Child Welfare Pre-Service Coaching Protecting Investigations Overview

A Dad or mum’s Information to Juvenile Dependency Courtroom

Florida’s Middle for Child Welfare: Child Welfare Working Procedures CFOP 170 Collection
Florida’s Middle for Child Welfare: FAQs
Florida Institute for Child Welfare: The Division of Youngsters and Households
Florida Division of Youngsters and Households: Hotline FAQs
Florida Division of Youngsters and Households: Child Welfare
Child Welfare Info Gateway. (2013). How the Child Welfare System Works
Washington, DC: U.S. Division of Well being and Human Providers, Youngsters’s Bureau.
Child Welfare Info Gateway. (2016). Parental drug use as youngster abuse. Washington, DC: U.S. Division of Well being and Human Providers, Youngsters’s Bureau.
Child Welfare Info Gateway. (2016). Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect. Washington, DC: U.S. Division of Well being and Human Providers, Youngsters’s Bureau.
Child Welfare Info Gateway. (2016). Understanding Child Welfare and the Courts. Washington, DC: U.S. Division of Well being and Human Providers, Youngsters’s Bureau.
Child Welfare Info Gateway: Various Dispute Decision
Child Welfare Info Gateway: Parental Drug Use as Child Abuse
Child Welfare Info Gateway. (2016). Obligatory Reporters of Child Abuse and Neglect. Washington, DC: U.S. Division of Well being and Human Providers, Youngsters’s Bureau