2004 Florida Statutes
Initiation of termination of parental rights proceedings; judicial review.
(1) If, in preparation for any judicial review hearing under this chapter, it is the opinion of the social service agency that the parents of the child have not complied with their responsibilities as specified in the written case plan although able to do so, the department shall state its intent to initiate proceedings to terminate parental rights, unless the social service agency can demonstrate to the court that such a recommendation would not be in the child's best interests. If it is the intent of the department to initiate proceedings to terminate parental rights, the department shall file a petition for termination of parental rights no later than 3 months after the date of the previous judicial review hearing. If the petition cannot be filed within 3 months, the department shall provide a written report to the court outlining the reasons for delay, the progress made in the termination of parental rights process, and the anticipated date of completion of the process.
(2) If, at the time of the 12-month judicial review hearing, a child is not returned to the physical custody of the parents, the department shall initiate termination of parental rights proceedings under this chapter within 30 days. Only if the court finds that the situation of the child is so extraordinary and that the best interests of the child will be met by such action at the time of the judicial review may the case plan be extended. If the court decides to extend the plan, the court shall enter detailed findings justifying the decision to extend, as well as the length of the extension. A termination of parental rights petition need not be filed if: the child is being cared for by a relative who chooses not to adopt the child but who is willing, able, and suitable to serve as the legal custodian for the child until the child reaches 18 years of age; the court determines that filing such a petition would not be in the best interests of the child; or the state has not provided the child's parent, when reasonable efforts to return a child are required, consistent with the time period in the state's case plan, such services as the state deems necessary for the safe return of the child to his or her home. Failure to initiate termination of parental rights proceedings at the time of the 12-month judicial review or within 30 days after such review does not prohibit initiating termination of parental rights proceedings at any other time.
History.--s. 9, ch. 87-289; s. 28, ch. 94-164; s. 13, ch. 98-280; s. 80, ch. 98-403; s. 40, ch. 99-193; s. 1, ch. 2001-3.
Note.--Former s. 39.454.