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Dependency Law: Abuse, Abandonment, or Neglect and Department of Children and Families (DCF)

If you are involved in a dependency case or were reported to the Department of Children and Families (DCF), contact Fort Lauderdale family lawyer Jennifer Kane Waterway. Jennifer Kane Waterway can assist you with allegations of abuse, abandonment, or neglect at all stages in this complicated area of the law.

South Florida Dependency Cases

Dependency cases are cases based on allegations of abuse, abandonment, or neglect. When someone reports such conduct to DCF or other authorities, a child protective investigation is initiated. If warranted, a court action may be initiated to protect the children and can result in restricting access to the children and even terminating parental rights.

What Happens in Dependency Cases

A child may be removed from the home based on allegations of abuse, abandonment, or neglect. A shelter hearing will take place very quickly after the removal, where DCF will have to prove to a judge that it had probable cause to remove your child. If the judge finds DCF acted appropriately, your child may remain outside your home while the dependency case progresses. Your child likely will stay with relatives, if available, during the case, but this is not guaranteed. You will face multiple hearings in the dependency case, with the DCF alleging that you abused, abandoned, or neglected your child.

The overall goal of dependency cases is to protect children and reunite the family where possible. It typically involves providing services to the family to remedy any issues. DCF often will work with the parent to establish visitation while the child is out of the home. Therefore, if your child was removed, you may be able to talk or visit with him or her, though communication and visitation may be supervised. Dependency cases are complex and require a thorough understanding of this area of law. Hearings will happen quickly after the case begins, and you need someone to defend you against allegations and resolve matters with DCF when possible. You have rights as a parent and as a party to the dependency case. You need an experienced dependency lawyer who can navigate through these types of proceedings. Be sure to contact an experienced South Florida dependency lawyer as soon as possible when facing a dependency case.

Attorney Jennifer Kane Waterway has helped many South Florida families with dependency cases. Attorney Waterway will explain all your legal options and pursue the best legal means to defending your rights. Contact Jennifer Kane Waterway for more information and to discuss your situation.

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