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Florida Child Custody Concerns on a Startling Rise

Child custody matters are not only a serious matter of concern for parents but also to the state of Florida. Florida has a legal and moral obligation to ensure its minor citizens are safe. Child custody matters are best handled by legal professionals but may be faced by parents who have had reports filed against them or by parents who, during divorce proceedings, are not found fit for custody.1422766_pedestrian_zone_sign.jpg

Violating child custody orders may lead to severe civil and criminal penalties in Florida. On Sunday June 28, a missing child alert was called off for a mother who kidnapped her two daughters who were the subject of a child services investigation.

The department attempted to seize custody of the daughters, aged 7 and 15, after the court issued a dependency shelter order having found them at risk in their mother’s custody. Upon visiting the home, they discovered that the family had disappeared. After a two week search, an anonymous tip led investigators to North Carolina where the mother had kidnapped and transported the children.

Broward county is seeing an unfortunate increase in the number of children removed from homes due to allegations of abuse or neglect. The total number removed by the Broward Sheriff’s office has increased from just over 1,100 children last year to an astonishing 1,525 children in 2013 (up through June 30).

The CEO of the private firm contracted to oversee foster care in the county, ChildNet, identified the spike as being quite significant but cannot point to a clear cause. Some contributory evidence that will be further investigated is the increase in hotline calls reporting abuse, a new administration staff at the Sheriff’s Office, and recent heavily publicized stories of child deaths by the hands of parents previously investigated by child services.

According to the Florida Department of Children and Families, 12 children have died in 2013 due to neglect or abuse in the homes of parents having a history with the department.

The most recent death was a two year old in Homestead. His father is now being charged with second-degree murder. The Department’s records list a long history of Project SOS services having been offered to the father. Project SOS was a social services initiative through the police department that attempted to address homes suffering from abuse and neglect.

In most cases, child services are not eager to remove children from the homes of their parents unless it is clearly unsafe, and will instead try to solve more of the root causes of the abuse or neglect before taking further steps.

The Law Firm of Sandy T. Fox is dedicated to providing solutions for Floridian’s family law needs. Our legal team demonstrates skill and professionalism in achieving our clients’ goals. Whether your issues involve child custody, child support, an impending or existing divorce or separation proceeding, spousal support, or property distribution, we can be of assistance. Your situation may be difficult, but it will be more difficult to proceed alone – contact us for a confidential consultation. If you are in the South Florida area, please give us a call at (800) 596-0579 or contact us online.

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