Boca Raton Foster Care Lawyer
Experienced Foster Care Attorneys Serving All of Broward and Palm Beach Counties
If you are considering being a foster parent, you need a skilled Boca Raton foster care lawyer who has experience handling dependency cases. Foster care is a very specialized area of family law, so not all attorneys will have experience with dependency care cases where the children are in out-of-home placements.
At Williams & Varsegi, LLC, our team of foster care lawyers has years of experience with dependency cases. As former lawyers for the Guardians ad Litem program, we represented children’s best interests in these cases. We also have experience as Assistant Attorneys General in the bureau for Children’s Legal Services prosecuting dependency cases. Our team is ideal to help with a case involving a child in foster care or in another type of out-of-home placement, either with relatives or non-relatives.
We are here to represent foster families and relative or non-relative caregivers in cases involving dependency and termination of parental rights.
What is a Dependency Hearing?
If there is an allegation of neglect, abuse, or abandonment, a child may be removed from their home. Then, there will be a number of hearings to discuss whether the family should be given the chance for reunification or whether it’s better to terminate the parental rights. During these hearings, parents have the right to be represented by legal counsel.
The child’s interests are protected by a Guardian ad Litem. Also known as GAL, a Guardian ad Litem is someone appointed by the court to be the advocate for the child’s needs when required. If the child has a caregiver, they are also participants in the dependency hearing. It’s recommended that they attend the hearings.
Termination of Parental Rights
If a dependency hearing results in no reunification, the court may start proceedings to terminate the parental rights. This type of petition can be brought by the Department of Children and Families, the state, a Guardian ad Litem, or even someone with knowledge that would support a termination of parental rights. In Florida, there are more than 12 different legal grounds that support terminating parental rights.
Some statutory grounds include voluntary surrendering of parental rights, egregious abuse, parental incarceration for a significant portion of the child’s minority years, and more. In these types of cases, the court also has to find that terminating parental rights is in the best interest of the child, and also the least restrictive method to protect him or her from harm.
Adoption and Foster Care
A child who is in foster care could be adopted by the foster parents or by someone else. Once the termination of parental rights has been decided, a series of things must happen. These include training for prospective parents, a home inspection, a background check, and more. If the foster parents are applying to adopt the child, and he or she has lived in the foster home for a minimum of six months, then the court cannot move them without a court order.
Contact Experienced Boca Raton Foster Care Lawyers
If you need assistance with a foster care legal matter in either Palm Beach or Broward County, contact Williams & Varsegi, LLC, today at 954-255-5655 to schedule an initial consultation.