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Practice Areas
Marital & Family Law
Divorce, Support & Modifications
Labor & Employment Law
Representing Business and Employers

Law Offices of
Bruce A. Leinback, P.A.

P.O. Box 689
Monticello, Florida 32345

Email Us

Phone: (850) 942-9700

Florida Dependency Law

Marital and Family Law


One of the most difficult situations a parent can face is when a complaint alleging child abuse or neglect is made to the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF). An investigation follows, which can lead to extensive involvement by the State of Florida in the life of a family. We represent parents and other family members in these difficult situations and assist them in dealing with DCF and the court system.

These cases generally arise when a call is made to the Florida abuse “hotline,” and the caller describes facts which may involve abuse or neglect of a child. By law the identity of the caller may not be disclosed to the family member, but false complaints are a crime. Once a call has been received by the DCF hotline, an investigation is conducted during which the parents, and possibly other family members, are contacted. Following the investigation, DCF makes a decision as to whether there has been abuse or neglect and if so, whether to remove the child or children from the home. Even in cases where DCF decides not to remove the children from the home, if the agency determines that it needs to protect the children, it can file a dependency complaint in the circuit court alleging that the children have been abused or neglected. Should this occur, the parents are served with a copy of the complaint by a Sheriff’s Deputy. This begins a court process which can frequently last more than a year.

Parents are entitled to be represented by counsel at all stages of the DCF dependency process and indigent parents will have a lawyer appointed by the court to represent them. Parents who are not indigent are advised to retain counsel because the DCF process can be complicated and lead to significant burdens for them. In extreme cases, the process can result in a termination of parental rights. If you have been contacted by DCF regarding allegations of abuse or neglect of your child or children, you may contact the Law Offices of Bruce A. Leinback, P.A., via email or by telephone at (850) 942-9700 for a free consultation.

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