If you are involved in a child custody case where a single parent has been awarded full custody or both parents have lost custody of the minor child, you will likely have been presented with a reunification plan. These plans are crucial to a parent’s retention of their parental rights and involvement in their child’s life. Therefore, it is imperative to adequately understand these plans, their terms, and implementation. Contact a family law attorney today if your child has been removed from your custody, and the court has presented you with a reunification plan.
If a child is taken from a parent’s custody by the Department of Children and Families or by order of a court, Florida law requires that the initial position of the court should be to implement a Reunification Plan. Reunification is the goal for all children removed from a parent’s custody, and therefore, these plans are extremely common. Reunification plans vary greatly depending upon the exact situation of the child and parent involved. Therefore, it is imperative that you look only to your personalized reunification plan for guidance and not outside aid.
A Reunification Plan can involve many different agencies or parties to develop the necessary steps to be taken that best represent the child’s interest and safety. Florida law requires that when a plan is developed it is family centered and all parties, including their respective attorneys, are involved in a face to face planning conference. Law further requires these plans to be in writing, signed by all parties, and include the actions of the parent or problem that requires such state intervention; the permanency goal; the date of compliance required; notice to the parent regarding their responsibility to take action and comply with the plan; the role of the parents, legal guardians, foster parents, and case managers; the methods of review of compliance with the plan; and the specific steps necessary for the parent to take to complete the reunification plan. These contingency items may include drug screening, home inspections, implementation of a safety plan, or removal of an individual from the home. The court may also reunify the children with their parent upon future contingency actions as well. These may include abiding by a no contact order, participating in a child’s medical treatment, negative drug testing results, or involvement in therapy programs. Specific items may be implemented into any reunification plan as well, depending on the specific needs of the parties.
Reunification plans, although overwhelming when first presented, are particularly important for a parent to gain their custodial rights to their child. In order to properly understand and adhere to these plans, employ the assistance of a knowledgeable lawyer to protect your rights to your child.
Speaking to an attorney at our Pensacola office is free of charge, and we accept calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call us at (800) 822-5170 or complete an online contact form to get in touch with a member of our team today.