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If a petition for parental rights is brought upon a mother…

If a petition for parental...
If a petition for parental rights is brought upon a mother by a THIRD PARTY with no state involvement, does the third party have to offer the mother a case plan for reunification like the state would in a TPR case or do they not have to because they're not the state?
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Answered in 11 minutes by:
1/18/2018
RobertJDFL
RobertJDFL, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 14,335
Experience: Experienced in multiple areas of the law.
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Thank you for using Just Answer. Good to hear from you again. Please give me a moment to reply back to you.

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Good evening,

Your understanding is correct. A dependency action is a civil case brought before the Court based on allegations of abuse, abandonment or neglect of a child. The proceeding is based on allegations communicated to the Department of Children and Families (DCF) through an abuse report called into the Florida Abuse Hotline.

In such a case, a case plan is required and failure of a parent to complete a case plan is grounds for DCF to seek termination of parental rights. There is no requirement for a third party to offer a case plan.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
This is a case of grandparents bringing a TPR case against a mother on an abandonment accusation. However, it doesn't seem like any care plan is involved when a tpr is brought by a third party instead of the state. DCF is not involved and never has been. Thanks!

You're very welcome! Glad I could help. Please remember to leave a positive rating by clicking on the stars at the top of the page so I am credited by the website, and thank you.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Sorry-- I was adding additional info to my question above. DCF is not involved and child is not dependent

My misunderstanding, sorry! Then a case plan for reunification is not required, you are correct.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Why would a caseplan be required for the state but not for a third party bringing a tpr case? It would seem like it would be the other way around.

I can't speak for the thinking of the legislature, unfortunately. My opinion is that with a case plan, DCF has already gotten involved and a child has been adjudicated dependent by a court before a case plan is introduced. So, there's already a finding that social services are required. And even though participation in a case plan is not an admission of guilt, failure to participate or complete the plan can be grounds for DCF to terminate parental rights.

With a third party, there has not been an adjudication of dependency -and hence (in my opinion) the legislature has not required that a case plan be drafted. The other thing is, I have to believe that DCF knows what they are doing when they develop a case plan and know what the child needs and what the parents must do. A third party - like grandparents -would not know how to do that, so the introduction of a case plan would almost require intervention by DCF.

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