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Dependency: Tips for Navigating the Process of Dependency Cases

On Behalf of | Apr 18, 2014 | Family Law |


In Miami, there is a unique branch of the court which is completely designated to children who have been abused, neglected, or abandoned. It’s the Dependency Division of the Juvenile Court, and its primary mission is to secure the safety and well-being of minors who are presented to it, generally by the Florida Department of Children and Families. The court relies on a specific timeframe, during which it assists with either the reunification of families or the permanent placement of children in stable, loving environments.

When families enter this system with the goal of reunification, they are provided with case plans. Each plan is different from the next, and is customized to meet Pink Prom Dresses the unique needs of each family. The plans outline the steps that must be successfully completed to achieve reunification. For example, parents may be required to receive counseling, mental health, or drug and alcohol assessments. They are often required to participate in parenting classes as well. As parents progress, they may be granted visitation with their children. Sometimes it is supervised by a caseworker or a family member, but depending on the circumstances, the visits may not be supervised at all.

Regardless of the particular details of each case, many parents find that being separated from their children is heart-wrenching and overwhelming. Cocktail Dresses They may have battled addiction, or they may have been too depressed to keep their homes clean. Perhaps a loss of employment led to the inability to adequately feed the family. Despite their struggles, most parents genuinely care for their children and are devastated when they can no longer have contact with them.

When dealing with this amount of grief, parents may lash out at caseworkers or rebel against the courts. They feel unsupported and unable to trust the system. The courtroom can be an overwhelming and intimidating place in the best of circumstances. An attorney who specializes in dependency cases can make an immense difference in court. A lawyer can explain the steps of the process, the perspectives of the judges and caseworkers, and most importantly, advocate on behalf of distraught parents.

Some of the most common tips that legal professionals provide to parents who have been separated from their children are listed below:

  • Take care of yourself. This may seem obvious, but it is quite easy to forget about your own needs during crises. As much as possible, get adequate rest, exercise, and nutrition. Visit your doctor as needed and work with a counselor or therapist.
  • Process your feelings. Acknowledge your emotions, and remember that there is no wrong way to feel. Use healthy outlets for working through emotions. Talking to others, journaling, listening to music, and painting can all be effective.
  • Cooperate. It isn’t always easy for parents to abide by the orders of the courts, or the caseworkers. Regardless of the precipitating circumstances, however, the legal system ultimately has control. If the objective is to reunite with your children, cooperating is the surest way to achieve this goal.

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