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The Florida Statutes

The 2020 Florida Statutes

Title V
JUDICIAL BRANCH
Chapter 39
PROCEEDINGS RELATING TO CHILDREN
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F.S. 39.522
39.522 Postdisposition change of custody.The court may change the temporary legal custody or the conditions of protective supervision at a postdisposition hearing, without the necessity of another adjudicatory hearing.
(1)(a) At any time before a child is residing in the permanent placement approved at the permanency hearing, a child who has been placed in the child’s own home under the protective supervision of an authorized agent of the department, in the home of a relative, in the home of a legal custodian, or in some other place may be brought before the court by the department or by any other interested person, upon the filing of a motion alleging a need for a change in the conditions of protective supervision or the placement. If the parents or other legal custodians deny the need for a change, the court shall hear all parties in person or by counsel, or both. Upon the admission of a need for a change or after such hearing, the court shall enter an order changing the placement, modifying the conditions of protective supervision, or continuing the conditions of protective supervision as ordered. The standard for changing custody of the child shall be the best interests of the child. When determining whether a change of legal custody or placement is in the best interests of the child, the court shall consider:
1. The child’s age.
2. The physical, mental, and emotional health benefits to the child by remaining in his or her current placement or moving to the proposed placement.
3. The stability and longevity of the child’s current placement.
4. The established bonded relationship between the child and the current or proposed caregiver.
5. The reasonable preference of the child, if the court has found that the child is of sufficient intelligence, understanding, and experience to express a preference.
6. The recommendation of the child’s current caregiver.
7. The recommendation of the child’s guardian ad litem, if one has been appointed.
8. The child’s previous and current relationship with a sibling, if the change of legal custody or placement will separate or reunite siblings.
9. The likelihood of the child attaining permanency in the current or proposed placement.
10. Any other relevant factors.
(b) If the child is not placed in foster care, the new placement for the child must meet the home study criteria and court approval under this chapter.
(2) In cases where the issue before the court is whether a child should be reunited with a parent, the court shall review the conditions for return and determine whether the circumstances that caused the out-of-home placement and issues subsequently identified have been remedied to the extent that the return of the child to the home with an in-home safety plan prepared or approved by the department will not be detrimental to the child’s safety, well-being, and physical, mental, and emotional health.
(3) In cases where the issue before the court is whether a child who is placed in the custody of a parent should be reunited with the other parent upon a finding that the circumstances that caused the out-of-home placement and issues subsequently identified have been remedied to the extent that the return of the child to the home of the other parent with an in-home safety plan prepared or approved by the department will not be detrimental to the child, the standard shall be that the safety, well-being, and physical, mental, and emotional health of the child would not be endangered by reunification and that reunification would be in the best interest of the child.
(4) In cases in which the issue before the court is whether to place a child in out-of-home care after the child was placed in the child’s own home with an in-home safety plan or the child was reunified with a parent or caregiver with an in-home safety plan, the court must consider, at a minimum, the following factors in making its determination whether to place the child in out-of-home care:
(a) The circumstances that caused the child’s dependency and other subsequently identified issues.
(b) The length of time the child has been placed in the home with an in-home safety plan.
(c) The parent’s or caregiver’s current level of protective capacities.
(d) The level of increase, if any, in the parent’s or caregiver’s protective capacities since the child’s placement in the home based on the length of time the child has been placed in the home.

The court shall additionally evaluate the child’s permanency goal and change the permanency goal as needed if doing so would be in the best interests of the child. If the court changes the permanency goal, the case plan must be amended pursuant to s. 39.6013(5).

History.s. 25, ch. 2000-139; s. 14, ch. 2006-86; s. 3, ch. 2013-21; s. 13, ch. 2017-151; s. 6, ch. 2019-128; s. 5, ch. 2020-138.