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Welcome to the Hendry County Juvenile Dependency Program

TABLE OF CONTENTS


INSTRUCTIONS for Parents and Caregivers To Reopen a Juvenile Dependency Case

The following instructions have been prepared as a guide in assisting you to reopen your dependency case. It is for informational purposes only and should not be substituted for nor construed as legal advice.

1. PREPARE A WRITTEN MOTION

In order to reopen your case, a Notice of Hearing and Motion To Reopen and For Modification of Permanency Order must be prepared and filed. These documents can be found on the 20th Judicial Circuit website at: www.ca.cjis20.org. Click PROGRAMS button. Click JUVENILE button. Click on "Link to Hendry County Juvenile Dependency Instructions"

You must attach, to the Motion, all of the supporting documentation showing you completed your unfinished Case Plan tasks. This may include, but is not limited to:

  • Parenting class completion certificate
  • Substance abuse treatment completion certificate
  • Anger management completion certificate (ACT/BAN)
  • Victim’s counseling (ACT)
  • Proof of income (pay stubs, W-2’s, letter from employer)
  • Proof of housing (lease)
  • Proof of attendance at 12-step recovery meetings (AA or NA)

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2. OBTAIN A HEARING DATE

Contact Nancy Owens, Juvenile Clerk. She will provide you with a Hearing date once you have prepared your Motion. Her telephone number is (863) 675-5207. Her email is nowens@hendryclerk.org.

Your Hearing date is:

____________________________________time:_______________
In front of the Honorable James D. Sloan, Circuit Judge, Hendry County Courthouse, 25 East Hickpochee Avenue, LaBelle, Florida 33935.

Make sure you write this hearing date into the Notice of Hearing form.

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3. FILE YOUR MOTION AND PAY FILING FEE

File the Notice of Hearing and Motion with the Clerk of the Circuit Court, Juvenile Division, to re-open your case, along with all of the supporting documentation showing you completed your unfinished Case Plan tasks as listed above in #1.

      The Juvenile Dependency Clerk is located at:

Hendry County Courthouse
25 East Hickpochee Avenue
LaBelle, Florida 33935

 

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4. SEND OUT NOTICE OF HEARING AND MOTION

Within 24 hours of filing the Motion, send a copy of the Notice of Hearing and the Motion, along with all the supporting documentation showing you completed your unfinished Case Plan tasks as listed in #1 to:

  • Children's Legal Services
    Department of Children and Families
    2295 Victoria Avenue
    Post Office Box 60085
    Fort Myers, Florida 33901
     

The phone number is (239) 338-1147.

  • You must also send a copy to the other parent, the Permanent Guardians or other caregivers who have custody of your child or children, and the Guardian Ad Litem Program

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5. CONTACT FAMILY PRESERVATION SERVICES OF FLORIDA

Within 48 hours of filing your Motion, Family Preservation Services of Florida, Case Manager Supervisor, Su Carey at (863) 675-3549 and let the Supervisor know you filed a Motion to Re-open your case.

  • A. The Supervisor will assign your case to a Child Welfare Case Manager, who will contact you to set up an appointment. At that meeting, the Case Manager will go over your case plan tasks with you and review your supporting documentation. The Case Manager may ask you to sign all necessary releases, including those that will allow the case manager to verify completion of the required services. The Case Manager will also contact service providers if needed. The case manager may also contact the child(ren)'s current caregivers regarding your Motion and obtain their input.
  • B. The Case Manager will consult with his/her Supervisor and make a recommendation on Reopening your case, and will notify you of the result. The recommendation will be presented at your Court Hearing.
    • i. If the Case Manager recommends increased, unsupervised or overnight visitation and/or reunification as appropriate, then the Case Manager will agree with your Motion to Reopen the case and may request the Court's permission to reunify you with your child(ren) on that date or shortly thereafter. A future Judicial Review hearing date will be set as well at that hearing.
    • ii. If the Case Manager recommends not to reopen your case, you will be given an explanation as to why and what you need to do in order to satisfy your case plan. The Case Manager will present this recommendation to the Court, and you will have the opportunity to present your position to the judge, at the Hearing. The judge will then provide a ruling on your Motion.

Please note that every case is different and there are other possible outcomes than those noted above. Failure to adhere to the instructions may result in a delay in your hearing.

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