Dependency

Frequently Asked Questions

What do I do if I think that a child is being abused? 

If you suspect that a child is being abused, neglected or abandoned by their parent or caretaker, call the Florida Abuse Registry at 1-800-962-2873.

My children have been taken from me by the state and I have been accused of neglecting them. What do I do now? 

Florida statutes mandate that a court hearing is held within 24 hours of a child being removed from his/her parents. This is called a shelter hearing.  Parents will be appointed a lawyer at this hearing, so it is important to attend the hearing, and follow the advice of the lawyer.

Another option is to call the protective investigations unit of the Department of Children and Families in your county. For Alachua County the number is (352) 955-5169; for Gilchrist and Levy Counties the number is (352) 463-3110. For Bradford and Union Counties the number is (904) 964-1515. For Baker County the number is (904) 573-4920.

At what age is it legal to leave a child home alone? 

There is no minimum age established by law. Whether a child can be left alone depends on a number of factors, including: the child's maturity; the safety of the environment they are in; how long they are left alone; whether or not they can get in touch with their parent or caregiver; and whether or not they know what to do in case of an emergency. Leaving a child alone can constitute neglect on the part of a parent or caregiver if the child could be in any danger of harm.

My children have been in foster care for over a year and I want to talk to someone about my case. Who should I call? 

The Department of Children and Families in your county. The number for Alachua County is (352) 955-5168; for Gilchrist and Levy Counties the number is (352) 463-3110; for Bradford and Union Counties the number is (904) 964-1515; for Baker County the number is (904) 573-4920.