(a) Finding of Dependency. In all cases in which dependency is established, the court must enter a written order stating the legal basis for a finding of dependency, specifying the facts upon which the finding of dependency is based, and stating whether the court made the finding by a preponderance of the evidence or by clear and convincing evidence. The court must include the dates of the adjudicatory hearing, if any, in the order.
(b) Adjudication of Dependency.
(1) If the court finds that the child named in the petition is dependent, the court must enter an order adjudicating the child dependent if the child is placed or will continue to be placed in an out-of-home placement. Following a finding of dependency, the court must schedule a disposition hearing within 30 days after the last day of the adjudicatory hearing pursuant to these rules.
(2) If the court enters findings that only one parent contributed to the dependency status of the child but allegations of dependency remain unresolved as to the other parent, the court must enter a written order finding dependency based on the allegations of the dependency petition concerning the one parent. The court must then reserve ruling on findings regarding the other parent based on the unresolved allegations until the parent enters an admission or consent to the dependency petition, the court conducts an evidentiary hearing on the allegations, the court proceeds as provided by law regarding a parent whose identity or location is unknown, or the issue is otherwise resolved.
(3) The court may enter an order adjudicating the child dependent if the child remains in or is returned to the home.
(4) For as long as a court maintains jurisdiction over a dependency case, only one order adjudicating each child in the case dependent shall be entered. This order establishes the legal status of the child for purposes of proceedings under Chapter 39, Florida Statutes, and may be based on the conduct of one parent, both parents, or a legal custodian. With the exception of proceedings pursuant to a termination of parental rights, the child’s dependency status may not be retried or readjudicated. All subsequent orders finding that a parent contributed to the dependency status of the child shall supplement the initial order of adjudication.
(c) Withhold of Adjudication of Dependency.
(1) If the court finds that the child named in the petition is dependent, but finds that no action other than supervision in the child’s home is required, it may enter an order briefly stating the facts on which its finding is based, but withholding an order of adjudication and placing the child in the child’s home under the supervision of the department. The department must file a case plan and the court must review the case plan pursuant to these rules.
(2) If the court later finds that the parents of the child have not complied with the conditions of supervision imposed, including the case plan, the court may, after a hearing to establish the noncompliance, but without further evidence of the state of dependency, enter an order of adjudication and shall thereafter have full authority under this chapter to provide for the child as adjudicated. If the child is to remain in an out-of-home placement by order of the court, the court must adjudicate the child dependent. If the court adjudicates the child dependent, the court must then conduct a disposition hearing.
(d) Failure to Substantially Comply. The court must advise the parents in plain language that:
(1) 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;
(2) 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;
(3) parents must notify the parties and the court of barriers to completing case plan tasks within a reasonable time after discovering such barriers; and
(4) 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.
(e) Inquiry Regarding Relatives for Placement. If the child is in out-of-home care, the court must inquire of the parent or parents whether the parent or parents have relatives who might be considered as placement for the child. The parent or parents must provide to the court and all parties identification and location information for the relatives.