Grounds for Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights - Florida

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Circumstances That Are Grounds for Termination of Parental Rights

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 39.806

Grounds for the termination of parental rights may be established under any of the following circumstances:

  • The parent has abandoned the child.
  • The parent's conduct toward the child or other children threatens the life, safety, well-being, or physical, mental, or emotional health of the child, irrespective of the provision of services.
  • The parent is incarcerated and one of the following applies:
    • The time for which the parent is expected to be incarcerated will constitute a substantial portion of the child's minority.
    • The incarcerated parent has been determined by the court to be a violent, career criminal; a habitual, violent, felony offender; or a sexual predator.
    • The court determines by clear and convincing evidence that continuing the parental relationship with the incarcerated parent would be harmful to the child.
  • A child has been adjudicated dependent, a case plan has been filed with the court, and either of the following applies:
    • The child continues to be abused, neglected, or abandoned by the parents.
    • The parent has materially breached the case plan by making it unlikely that he or she will be able to substantially comply with the case plan before the time for compliance expires.
  • The parent has engaged in egregious conduct or knowingly failed to prevent egregious conduct that threatens the life, safety, or physical, mental, or emotional health of the child or the child's sibling.
  • The child has been in care for any 12 of the last 22 months and the parents have not substantially complied with the case plan so as to permit reunification unless the failure to substantially comply with the case plan was due to the parent's lack of financial resources or to the failure of the Department of Children and Family Services to make reasonable efforts to reunify the parent and child.
  • The parent has subjected the child to aggravated child abuse, sexual battery, sexual abuse, or chronic abuse.
  • The parent or parents have committed murder or voluntary manslaughter of another child or a felony assault that results in serious bodily injury to the child or another child, or aided or abetted, attempted, conspired, or solicited to commit such a murder or voluntary manslaughter or felony assault.
  • The parental rights of the parent to a sibling have been terminated involuntarily.
  • The parent has a history of extensive, abusive, and chronic use of alcohol or a controlled substance that renders him or her incapable of caring for the child and has refused or failed to complete available treatment for such use during the 3-year period immediately preceding the filing of the petition for termination of parental rights.
  • A test administered at birth that indicated that the child's blood, urine, or meconium contained any amount of alcohol or a controlled substance or metabolites of such substances, the presence of which was not the result of medical treatment administered to the mother or the newborn infant, and the mother of the child is the birth mother of at least one other child who was adjudicated dependent after a finding of harm to the child's health or welfare due to exposure to a controlled substance or alcohol, after which the mother had the opportunity to participate in substance abuse treatment.
  • On three or more occasions, the child or another child of the parent has been placed in out-of-home care, and the conditions that led to the child's out-of-home placement were caused by the parent.
  • The court determines by clear and convincing evidence that the child was conceived as a result of an act of sexual battery.
  • The parent is convicted of an offense that requires the parent to register as a sexual predator under § 775.21.

Circumstances That Are Exceptions to Termination of Parental Rights

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 39.806

A petition may be filed when the parents have substantially failed to comply with a case plan for 12 months unless the failure to comply was due to either of the following:

  • A lack of financial resources of the parent
  • A failure of the department to make reasonable efforts to reunify the parent and child

Circumstances Allowing Reinstatement of Parental Rights

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.