Family law courts handle many different cases, from joyful new adoptions to difficult divorces. Some of the most painful and complex proceedings take place in juvenile dependency courts. In a juvenile dependency case, parents can face intrusive investigations and even the chance of losing their children.
Juvenile dependency is a kind of petition filed by the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) when their investigators suspect some form of child abuse. While the courts generally focus on helping families overcome problems and stay together, parents who are deemed uncooperative or dangerous may lose their parental rights.
If you are involved in a juvenile dependency case in any capacity, you may be facing a long and difficult legal struggle. To discuss the steps you need to take, call an Orlando juvenile dependency lawyer from the Schlegel Law Group.
Filing a Juvenile Dependency Petition
The DCFS may decide to investigate a family if a minor child is showing potential signs of abuse or neglect, including:
- Persistent and deliberate illegal behavior
- Attempts to run away from home
- Failure to attend school regularly
- Potentially dangerous or self-destructive behaviors
- Physical signs of abuse, malnutrition, or other unexplained health problems
Once the petition has been filed, the courts will review evidence and testimony to determine what the child’s living situation truly is. They may determine that the child is a victim of abuse or neglect, at risk for these problems, or lacking guardians who can care for him or her. Depending on the court’s decision, the family may be ordered into some kind of treatment or the child may be removed from the home.
How We Can Help
Child abuse is a very serious allegation. If your family has become the focus of a DCFS investigation, you need the help of a fully dedicated Orlando juvenile dependency attorney. Even if your child has been removed from your custody, you may still have grounds for pursuing a reinstatement of your rights.
Of course, being involved in a dependency case from another perspective is not easy, either. If you have been awarded guardianship of a minor, or are trying to secure custody of a child in your family, our legal team can help you too. We believe in honoring the law and upholding the best interests of a child in whatever way is necessary.