Section 984.15, Florida Statutes 2009
984.15 Petition for a child in need of services.--
(1) All proceedings seeking an adjudication that a child is a child in need of services shall be initiated by the filing of a petition by an attorney representing the department or by the child's parent, guardian, or legal custodian. If a child in need of services has been placed in a shelter pursuant to s. 984.14, the department shall file the petition immediately, including in the petition notice of arraignment pursuant to s. 984.20.
(2)(a) The department shall file a petition for a child in need of services if the case manager or staffing committee requests that a petition be filed and:
1. The family and child have in good faith, but unsuccessfully, used the services and process described in ss. 984.11 and 984.12; or
2. The family or child have refused all services described in ss. 984.11 and 984.12 after reasonable efforts by the department to involve the family and child in services and treatment.
(b) Once the requirements in paragraph (a) have been met, the department shall file a petition for a child in need of services within 45 days.
(c) The petition shall be in writing, shall state the specific grounds under s. 984.03(9) by which the child is designated a child in need of services, and shall certify that the conditions prescribed in paragraph (a) have been met. The petition shall be signed by the petitioner under oath stating good faith in filing the petition and shall be signed by an attorney for the department.
(3)(a) The parent, guardian, or legal custodian may file a petition alleging that a child is a child in need of services if:
1. The department waives the requirement for a case staffing committee.
2. The department fails to convene a meeting of the case staffing committee within 7 days, excluding weekends and legal holidays, after receiving a written request for such a meeting from the child's parent, guardian, or legal custodian.
3. The parent, guardian, or legal custodian does not agree with the plan for services offered by the case staffing committee.
4. The department fails to provide a written report within 7 days after the case staffing committee meets, as required under s. 984.12(8).
(b) The parent, guardian, or legal custodian must give the department prior written notice of intent to file the petition. If, at the arraignment hearing, the court finds that such written notice of intent to file the petition was not provided to the department, the court shall dismiss the petition, postpone the hearing until such written notice is given, or, if the department agrees, proceed with the arraignment hearing. The petition must be served on the department's office of general counsel.
(c) The petition must be in writing and must set forth specific facts alleging that the child is a child in need of services as defined in s. 984.03(9). The petition must also demonstrate that the parent, guardian, or legal custodian has in good faith, but unsuccessfully, participated in the services and processes described in ss. 984.11 and 984.12.
(d) The petition must be signed by the petitioner under oath.
(e) The court, on its own motion or the motion of any party or the department, shall determine the legal sufficiency of a petition filed under this subsection and may dismiss any petition that lacks sufficient grounds. In addition, the court shall verify that the child is not:
1. The subject of a pending investigation into an allegation or suspicion of abuse, neglect, or abandonment;
2. The subject of a pending referral alleging that the child is delinquent; or
3. Under the current supervision of the department or the Department of Children and Family Services for an adjudication of delinquency or dependency.
(4) The form of the petition and any additional contents shall be determined by rules of procedure adopted by the Supreme Court.
(5) The department or the parent, guardian, or legal custodian may withdraw a petition at any time prior to the child being adjudicated a child in need of services.
History.--s. 8, ch. 87-133; s. 11, ch. 92-170; s. 235, ch. 95-147; s. 5, ch. 95-152; s. 26, ch. 96-398; s. 101, ch. 97-238; s. 8, ch. 97-281; s. 69, ch. 98-280; s. 167, ch. 98-403.
Note.--Former s. 39.436.