(a) Shelter Petition. If a child has been or is to be removed from the home and maintained in an out-of-home placement for more than 24 hours, the person requesting placement shall file a written petition that shall:
(1) specify the name, address, date of birth, and sex of the child or, if unknown, designate the child by any name or description by which he or she can be identified with reasonable certainty and shall indicate whether the child has a special need requiring appointment of counsel as defined in section 39.01305, Florida Statutes;
(2) specify the name and address, if known, of the child’s parents or legal custodian and how each was notified of the shelter hearing;
(3) if the child has been removed from the home, state the date and time of the removal;
(4) specify that the child is of an age subject to the jurisdiction of the court;
(5) state the reasons the child needs to be placed in a shelter;
(6) list the reasonable efforts, if any, that were made by the department to prevent or eliminate the need for the removal or continued removal of the child from the home or, if no such efforts were made, a description of the emergency that prevented these efforts;
(7) recommend where the child is to be placed or the agency to be responsible for placement;
(8) if the children are currently not placed together, specify the reasonable efforts of the department to keep the siblings together after the removal from the home, why a foster home is not available to place the siblings, or why it is not in the best interest of the child that all the siblings be placed together in out-of-home care;
(9) specify ongoing visitation or interaction between the siblings or if sibling visitation or interaction is not recommended, specify why visitation or interaction would be contrary to the safety or well-being of the child; and
(10) be signed by the petitioner and, if represented by counsel, by the petitioner’s attorney.
(b) Shelter Hearing.
(1) The parents or legal custodians of the child shall be given actual notice of the date, time, and location of the shelter hearing. If the parents are outside the jurisdiction of the court, are not known, cannot be located, or refuse or evade service, they shall be given such notice as best ensures their actual knowledge of the date, time, and location of the shelter hearing. If the parents or legal custodians are not present at the hearing, the person providing, or attempting to provide, notice to the parents or legal custodians shall advise the court in person or by sworn affidavit of the attempts made to provide notice and the results of those attempts.
(2) The court shall conduct an informal hearing on the petition within the time limits provided by law. The court shall determine at the hearing the existence of probable cause to believe the child is dependent and whether the other criteria provided by law for placement in a shelter have been met. The shelter hearing may be continued for up to 72 hours with the child remaining in shelter care if either:
(A) the parents or legal custodians appear for the shelter hearing without legal counsel and request a continuance to consult with legal counsel; or
(B) the court determines that additional time is necessary to obtain and review documents pertaining to the family to appropriately determine the risk to the child.
(3) The issue of probable cause shall be determined in a nonadversarial manner, applying the standard of proof necessary for an arrest warrant.
(4) At the hearing, all interested persons present shall have an opportunity to be heard and present evidence on the criteria for placement provided by law.
(5) The court may base its determination on a sworn complaint, testimony, or an affidavit and may hear all relevant and material evidence, including oral and written reports, to the extent of its probative value even though it would not be competent at an adjudicatory hearing.
(6) The court shall advise the parent or legal custodian of:
(A) the right to be represented by counsel as provided by law;
(B) the reason the child is in custody and why continued placement is requested;
(C) the right to present placement alternatives; and
(D) the importance of the parents’ or legal custodians’ active participation in subsequent proceedings and hearings as well as the time, date, and location of the next hearing or the communication technology information or conference line phone number to enable them to attend the next hearing remotely.
(7) The court shall appoint:
(A) a guardian ad litem to represent the child unless the court finds representation unnecessary;
(B) an attorney to represent the child if the court finds the appointment necessary or required by law; and
(C) an attorney for indigent parents unless waived by the parent.
(8) The court shall determine visitation rights absent a clear and convincing showing that visitation is not in the best interest of the child.
(9) If the identity of a parent is unknown, the court must conduct the inquiry required by law.
(10) The court shall inquire of the parents whether the parents have relatives, fictive kin, or nonrelatives who might be considered for placement of the child. The parents shall provide to the court and all parties identification and location information regarding the relatives, fictive kin, or nonrelatives. The court shall advise the parents that the parents have a continuing duty to inform the department of any relatives, fictive kin, or nonrelatives who should be considered for placement of the child.
(11) The court shall advise the parents in plain language what is expected of them to achieve reunification with their child, including that:
(A) parents must take action to comply with the case plan so permanency with the child may occur within the shortest period of time possible, but no later than 1 year after removal or adjudication of the child;
(B) parents must stay in contact with their attorney and their case manager and provide updated contact information if the parents’ phone number, address, or e-mail address changes;
(C) parents must notify the parties and the court of barriers to completing case plan tasks within a reasonable time after discovering such barriers; and
(D) if the parents fail to substantially comply with the case plan their parental rights may be terminated and the child’s out-of-home placement may become permanent.
(12) The court must request that the parents consent to provide access to the child’s medical records and to the child’s child care records, early education program records, or other educational records and provide information to the court, the department, or its contract agencies, and any guardian ad litem or attorney for the child. If a parent is unavailable, is unable to consent, or withholds consent and the court determines access to the records and information is necessary to provide services for the child, the court shall issue an order granting access.
(13) The court may order the parents to provide all known medical information to the department and to any others granted access.
(14) If the child has or is suspected of having a disability and the parent is unavailable pursuant to law, the court must appoint a surrogate parent or refer the child to the district school superintendent for appointment of a surrogate parent.
(15) If the shelter hearing is conducted by a judge other than a judge assigned to hear dependency cases, a judge assigned to hear dependency cases shall hold a shelter review on the status of the child within 2 working days after the shelter hearing.
(c) Shelter Order. An order granting shelter care must identify the parties present at the hearing and contain written findings that:
(1) placement in shelter care is necessary based on the criteria provided by law;
(2) placement in shelter care is in the best interest of the child;
(3) the department made reasonable efforts to place the child in the order of priority provided in Chapter 39, Florida Statutes, or why such priority placement is not a placement option or in the best interest of the child based on the criteria established by law;
(4) the department made reasonable efforts to keep the siblings together after the removal from the home and specifies if the children are currently not placed together, why a foster home is not available or why it is not in the best interest of the child that all the siblings be placed together in out-of-home care;
(5) specifies on-going visitation or interaction between the siblings or if sibling visitation or interaction is not ordered, specifies why visitation or interaction would be contrary to the safety or well-being of the child and, if services are available that would reasonably be expected to ameliorate the risk to the child’s safety or well-being and may result in the communication and visitation being restored, directs the department to immediately provide such services;
(6) continuation of the child in the home is contrary to the welfare of the child because the home situation presents a substantial and immediate danger to the child’s physical, mental, or emotional health or safety that cannot be mitigated by the provision of preventive services;
(7) there is probable cause to believe the child is dependent;
(8) the department has made reasonable efforts to prevent or eliminate the need for removal of the child from the home, including a description of which specific services, if available, could prevent or eliminate the need for removal or continued removal from the home, the date by which the services are expected to become available, and, if services are not available to prevent or eliminate the need for removal or continued removal of the child from the home, an explanation of why the services are not available for the child;
(9) the court notified the parents, relatives who are providing out-of-home care for the child, or legal custodians of the time, date, and location of the next dependency hearing, and of the importance of their active participation in all subsequent proceedings and hearing;
(10) the court notified the parents or legal custodians of their right to counsel as provided by law;
(11) the court notified relatives who are providing out-of- home care for a child, as a result of the shelter petition being granted, that they have the right to attend all subsequent hearings, to submit reports to the court, and to speak to the court regarding the child, if they so desire; and
(12) the department has placement and care responsibility for any child who is not placed in the care of a parent at the conclusion of the shelter hearing.
(d) Release from Shelter Care. No child shall be released from shelter care after a shelter order has been entered except on order of the court unless the shelter order authorized release by the department.