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The Florida Senate

2004 Florida Statutes

Section 39.622, Florida Statutes 2004

39.622  Long-term custody.--When the parents have either consented to long-term custody, had their parental rights terminated, or failed to substantially comply with a case plan, and the court determines at a judicial review hearing, or at an adjudication hearing held pursuant to this chapter, that reunification is not in the best interest of the child, the court may place the child in the long-term custody of an adult relative or other adult approved by the court who has had custody of the child for at least the 6 preceding months and is willing to care for the child, if all of the following conditions are met:

(1)  A case plan describing the responsibilities of the relative or other adult, the department, and any other party has been submitted to the court.

(2)  The case plan for the child does not include reunification with the parents or adoption by the relative or other adult.

(3)  The child and the relative or other adult are determined not to need protective supervision or preventive services to ensure the stability of the long-term custodial relationship.

(4)  Each party to the proceeding agrees that a long-term custodial relationship does not preclude the possibility of the child returning to the custody of the parent at a later date if the parent demonstrates a material change in circumstances and the return of the child to the parent is in the child's best interest.

(5)  The court has considered the reasonable preference of the child if the court has found the child to be of sufficient intelligence, understanding, and experience to express a preference.

(6)  The court has considered the recommendation of the guardian ad litem if one has been appointed.

(7)  The relative or other adult has made a commitment to provide for the child until the child reaches the age of majority and to prepare the child for adulthood and independence.

(8)  The relative or other adult agrees not to return the child to the physical care and custody of the person from whom the child was removed, including for short visitation periods, without the approval of the court.

(9)  The court shall retain jurisdiction over the case, and the child shall remain in the long-term custody of the relative or other adult approved by the court, until the order creating the long-term custodial relationship is modified by the court. The court shall discontinue regular judicial-review hearings and may relieve the department of the responsibility for supervising the placement of the child whenever the court determines that the placement is stable and that such supervision is no longer needed. The child must be in the placement for a minimum of 6 continuous months before the court may consider termination of the department's supervision. Notwithstanding the retention of jurisdiction, the placement shall be considered a permanency option for the child when the court relieves the department of the responsibility for supervising the placement. The order terminating supervision by the department shall set forth the powers of the custodian of the child and shall include the powers ordinarily granted to a guardian of the person of a minor unless otherwise specified. The court may modify the order terminating supervision of the long-term placement if it finds that the long-term placement is no longer in the best interest of the child.

(10)  A relative or other legal custodian who has been designated as a long-term custodian shall have all of the rights and duties of a parent, including, but not limited to, the right and duty to protect, train, and discipline the child and to provide the child with food, shelter, and education, and ordinary medical, dental, psychiatric, and psychological care, unless these rights and duties are otherwise enlarged or limited by the court order establishing the long-term custodial relationship. The long-term custodian must inform the court in writing of any changes in the residence of the long-term custodian or the child.

History.--s. 29, ch. 2000-139.