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Re: Please Help Child Neglect/Abandonment

From: domesticdiva
Date: 02 Oct 2002
Time: 18:15:10
Remote Name: 64.132.127.245

Comments

Linda, I really understand what you are saying. Just this week in Florida, I had a case where some type of abuse is suspected, not sure yet if it is physical, mental or sexual in nature. There are 3 children involved and one, after having her last visit with the non custodial parent, became very angry, depressed, and just stopped eating. This resulted in several hospital stays, with one as recent as 2 weeks ago. This child and her siblings spoke to 2 counselors and a doctor, whom all reported their findings to DCF (Department of Children and Families, State of Florida) Coincidentally, we already had a hearing scheduled on a contempt motion (failure to pay support) a motion to suspend visitation was filed immediately after DCF began their investigation. We went to court, presented the Judge with the evidence from the counselors & doctor and requested she temporarily suspend visitation until DCF finished the investigation. The Court contacted DCF during the hearing and was advised by a counselor for them, who had never even met the children or spoken to them, that she had visited the non custodial parent's home and it seemed fine. Judge ordered both parents to court sponsored counseling and reserved ruling on all the motions. The counselors appointed by the court, refused to counsel the parents because of the pending DCF case but sent them to another program that offers court supervised visitation. We were instructed to immediately file a motion and proposed order so that they could supervise visitation within the court. The Judge denied this motion (so, the kids have to go to visitation unsupervised!!!) Then the Court called DCF, DCF agreed to close their case even though they never completed their investigation. Does this seem right? OK, lets just close this case so the Judge can do what she needs to do. Like the Judge ever spoke to these kids or visted their homes, or conducted a home study, or appointed a GAL, or anything for that matter. In the meantime, visitation is this weekend and the oldest daughter has threatened suicide if she is forced to go. CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS? P.S. We told the mom to tell the dad the kid is refusing to go and filed a motion for in camera testimony so she can tell the Judge herself ( of course, since we all know being a Judge is truly a part time position, it will be weeks if not months before this gets on the docket). IT IS QUITE DISGUSTING WHEN IT COMES TO FAMILY LAW IN THE STATE OF FLORIDA. Cases sit forever while Judges take vacations and work 6 hour days. They really do not care about the persons involved in the cases and as much as they say they care about the children's best interests, please, give me a break. I have one case where there has been no custody decision made in almost 2 years, so the dad just keeps taking the kid when and wherever he wants and the mother can do nothing about it. I stay in this field cause I do care about our clients and fight the fight the best I can for them and they do appreciate it because they know how hard we try, but it is very frustrating to say the least. P.S. I am sure everyone in the Country has heard about our infamous DCF program, they have abad habit of losing children.

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