(a) Initiation of Proceedings. Following a termination of parental rights, the department, the parent whose rights were terminated, or the child, may file a motion to reinstate the parent’s parental rights as provided by Chapter 39, Florida Statutes.
(b) Initial Evidentiary Hearing on Motion.
(1) Notice of Hearing. The court must issue a notice of the hearing on the motion to the parties and participants. The notice must state the issue to be determined and that the movant is required to present evidence at the hearing on the motion.
(2) Burden to Present Evidence and Proof. At the initial evidentiary hearing, the movant has the burden of presenting relevant evidence. All other parties may present evidence regarding the claims raised.
(3) Generally. When evaluating a motion to reinstate parental rights, the court must consider all relevant evidence including the criteria provided in Chapter 39, Florida Statutes. The court determines if the movant met the criteria provided by law by clear and convincing evidence.
(c) Transition Period.
(1) Visitation and Trial Home Visits. If the court determines that the movant met the criteria at the initial evidentiary hearing, the court must order the department to conduct supervised visitation and trial home visits between the child and the former parent for at least 3 consecutive months following the completion of an approved home study. The court must consider the multidisciplinary team’s transition plan.
(2) Reports and Notifications. During the period of visitation and trial home visits, the court must consider reports provided by the department every 30 days regarding the supervised visitation, home visits, and the department’s recommendation for reinstatement of parental rights. The court must also consider any notifications by the department of termination of visitations due to allegations of abuse, neglect, or abandonment, if the child’s safety or well-being is threatened, or if continuing visitation is not in the child’s best interest.
(d) Final Evidentiary Hearing for Consideration of the Reinstatement of Parental Rights. Within 30 days of either completion of the period of visitation and trial home visits or the department’s termination of trial home visits, the court must conduct a final evidentiary hearing on the motion. The court may reinstate parental rights upon a finding of clear and convincing evidence that it is in the best interest of the child. If visits are terminated and the court finds it is not in the child’s best interest to reinstate parental rights, the court must deny the motion to reinstate.
(e) Retention of Jurisdiction Following Reinstatement of Parental Rights. Upon ordering reinstatement of parental rights, the court must place the child in the custody of the former parent with an in-home safety plan. The court must retain jurisdiction for at least 6 months during which the court must consider the department’s reports on the stability of the placement. At the end of the 6 months, the court must determine whether its jurisdiction should continue or be terminated based on the received reports or any other relevant factors. If the court retains jurisdiction, the court must review the continued retention of jurisdiction every 3 months thereafter until the court terminates its jurisdiction or the child reaches the age of majority.