2007 Florida Statutes
Procedures with respect to abandoned infants.
63.0423 Procedures with respect to abandoned infants.--
(1) A licensed child-placing agency that takes physical custody of an infant abandoned at a hospital, emergency medical services station, or fire station pursuant to s. 383.50, shall assume responsibility for all medical costs and all other costs associated with the emergency services and care of the abandoned infant from the time the licensed child-placing agency takes physical custody of the abandoned infant.
(2) The licensed child-placing agency shall immediately seek an order from the circuit court for emergency custody of the abandoned infant. The emergency custody order shall remain in effect until the court orders preliminary approval of placement of the abandoned infant in the prospective home, at which time the prospective adoptive parents become guardians pending termination of parental rights and finalization of adoption or until the court orders otherwise. The guardianship of the prospective adoptive parents shall remain subject to the right of the licensed child-placing agency to remove the abandoned infant from the placement during the pendency of the proceedings if such removal is deemed by the licensed child-placing agency to be in the best interest of the child. The licensed child-placing agency may immediately seek to place the abandoned infant in a prospective adoptive home.
(3) The licensed child-placing agency that takes physical custody of the abandoned infant shall, within 24 hours thereafter, request assistance from law enforcement officials to investigate and determine, through the Missing Children Information Clearinghouse, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and any other national and state resources, whether or not the abandoned infant is a missing child.
(4) Within 7 days after accepting physical custody of the abandoned infant, the licensed child-placing agency shall initiate a diligent search to notify and to obtain consent from a parent whose identity is known but whose location is unknown. The diligent search must include, at a minimum, inquiries as provided for in s. 63.088 Constructive notice must also be provided pursuant to chapter 49 in the county where the infant was abandoned. If a parent is identified and located, notice of the hearing on the petition for termination of parental rights shall be provided.
(5) A petition for termination of parental rights under this section may not be filed until 30 days after the date the infant was abandoned in accordance with s. 383.50 A petition for termination of parental rights may not be granted until consent to adoption or an affidavit of nonpaternity has been executed by a parent of the abandoned infant as set forth in s. 63.062, a parent has failed to reclaim or claim the abandoned infant within the time period specified in s. 383.50, or the consent of a parent is otherwise waived by the court.
(6) A claim of parental rights of the abandoned infant must be made to the entity having legal custody of the abandoned infant or to the circuit court before whom proceedings involving the abandoned infant are pending. A claim of parental rights of the abandoned infant may not be made after the judgment to terminate parental rights is entered, except as otherwise provided by subsection (9).
(7) If a claim of parental rights of an abandoned infant is made before the judgment to terminate parental rights is entered, the circuit court may hold the action for termination of parental rights pending subsequent adoption in abeyance for a period of time not to exceed 60 days.
(a) The court may order scientific testing to determine maternity or paternity at the expense of the parent claiming parental rights.
(b) The court shall appoint a guardian ad litem for the abandoned infant and order whatever investigation, home evaluation, and psychological evaluation are necessary to determine what is in the best interest of the abandoned infant.
(c) The court may not terminate parental rights solely on the basis that the parent left the infant at a hospital, emergency medical services station, or fire station in accordance with s. 383.50
(d) The court shall enter a judgment with written findings of fact and conclusions of law.
(8) Within 7 business days after recording the judgment, the clerk of the court shall mail a copy of the judgment to the department, the petitioner, and the persons whose consent were required, if known. The clerk shall execute a certificate of each mailing.
(9)(a) A judgment terminating parental rights pending adoption is voidable, and any later judgment of adoption of that minor is voidable, if, upon the motion of a birth parent, the court finds that a person knowingly gave false information that prevented the birth parent from timely making known his or her desire to assume parental responsibilities toward the minor or from exercising his or her parental rights. A motion under this subsection must be filed with the court originally entering the judgment. The motion must be filed within a reasonable time, but not later than 1 year after the entry of the judgment terminating parental rights.
(b) No later than 30 days after the filing of a motion under this subsection, the court shall conduct a preliminary hearing to determine what contact, if any, will be permitted between a birth parent and the child pending resolution of the motion. Such contact may be allowed only if it is requested by a parent who has appeared at the hearing and the court determines that it is in the best interest of the child. If the court orders contact between a birth parent and child, the order must be issued in writing as expeditiously as possible and must state with specificity any provisions regarding contact with persons other than those with whom the child resides.
(c) At the preliminary hearing, the court, upon the motion of any party or upon its own motion, may order scientific testing to determine the paternity or maternity of the minor if the person seeking to set aside the judgment is alleging to be the child's birth parent but has not previously been determined by legal proceedings or scientific testing to be the birth parent. Upon the filing of test results establishing that person's maternity or paternity of the abandoned infant, the court may order visitation as it deems appropriate and in the best interest of the child.
(d) Within 45 days after the preliminary hearing, the court shall conduct a final hearing on the motion to set aside the judgment and shall enter its written order as expeditiously as possible thereafter.
(10) Except to the extent expressly provided in this section, proceedings initiated by a licensed child-placing agency for the termination of parental rights and subsequent adoption of a newborn left at a hospital, emergency medical services station, or fire station in accordance with s. 383.50 shall be conducted pursuant to this chapter.
History.--s. 5, ch. 2000-188; s. 2, ch. 2001-53; s. 5, ch. 2003-58.