Frequently Asked Questions

What are the school attendance requirements in Florida?  

Florida Statutes § 1003.21(1)(a)1 provides that all children who are 6 years old or who will be 6 years old by February 1 of any school year or who are older than 6 years of age but who are not yet 16 years old, with certain exceptions, are required to attend school regularly during the entire school term.

Can my child drop out of school without my permission?  

No, Florida Statutes § 1003.21(1)(c) requires that, once a child reaches the age of 16, that child may file a formal declaration of intent to terminate school enrollment with the district school board. The declaration must be signed by the child and the child's parent or legal guardian.

Can I, as a parent, get into trouble if my child does not go to school and he or she is under age 16?  

Yes, Florida Statutes § 984.151 provides that the court can order a parent or guardian to make sure that a student attends school. If the parent or guardian violates that order, he or she can be found in contempt of court. Florida Statutes § 1003.27(2)(a) states that the Superintendent shall institute a criminal prosecution against the child's parent when a child does not attend school and there is no valid reason for nonattendance. Also, under Florida Statutes § 39.501, the State can file a dependency petition against a parent or guardian based on neglect if their child does not attend school as required.

What can I do if my child refuses to go to school?  

You have several options including calling your School Board's attendance officers, calling law enforcement, or contacting a local counseling agency.

What can I do if my child is running away or threatening to run away?  

One option is to contact the Corner Drug Store for assistance from one of their non-residential programs or to contact their Interface residential shelter. If you feel your child needs further information about what it means to live independently, your child may benefit from talking to Gator TeamChild where his or her rights and responsibilities can be explained. You can also call law enforcement for assistance.

What can I do if my child refuses to follow my rules and is ungovernable?  

Various groups can provide counseling for you and your child. One option is to contact the Corner Drug Store for assistance. They can meet with you and your child to explore possible choices. If your child does not abide by the plan that is set up, a Petition for Child in Need of Services may be filed and the court may order your child to follow the plan. Another options may be to contact the child's school guidance office.

What can I do if my child becomes violent?  

You have several options. If you or someone else is in danger of being hurt by your child, it would be best to call law enforcement for help. This is important for your child's safety as well as the safety of those around your child. Another option would be to contact the Interface residential shelter if you feel you and your child would benefit from some time apart.

My child (broke the law) has to do community service/see a counselor, etc. Who do I call?

The Department of Juvenile Justice in your county. The number for the Circuit 8 Juvenile Probation and Community Corrections is (386) 418-5257.

For more information, please contact the Delinquency Office of Family Court at (352) 491-4563.

Delinquency Resources

  • Public Defender's Office: (352) 338-7370
  • State Attorney's Office: (352) 374-3670 - State Attorney's Office Website
  • Project Payback - A restitution program operated by the State Attorney's Office, Eighth Judicial Circuit
    -Gainesville Office: (352) 337-6174
    -Baker, Bradford & Union counties: (904) 259-3137
    -Gilchrist & Levy counties: (352) 337-6133
  • Juvenile Community Resource and Juvenile Detention Center - Where juveniles are screened for detention following an arrest. Serves all counties of the Eighth Judicial Circuit.
    -3440 NE 39th Avenue, Gainesville FL 32609
    -(352) 955-2105 Ext. 225
  • Florida Department of Juvenile Justice - Office of Probation and Community Corrections
    -14107 US Highway 441, Alachua FL 32615
    -(386) 418-5230 -FDJJ State Website
  • Gator TeamChild - UF Law School - A legal services program that represents indigent children regarding a variety of issues including dependency, emancipation, delinquency and school discipline.
    -(352) 273-8000
  • CDS Family & Behavioral Health Services - Program for youths in crisis, youth and family counseling, and substance abuse counseling. -3615 SW 13 Street, Gainesville FL 32608
    -(352) 244-0628
  • Interface Youth Shelter - A temporary residential shelter for runaways and youths ages 10-17, serving all counties of the Eighth Circuit. -1400 NW 29 Road, Gainesville FL 32609
    -(352) 214-0618
  • Alachua County Teen Court - A diversion program for first-time offenders operated by the Alachua County Sheriff's Office
    -2621 SE Hawthorne Road, Gainesville FL 32641
    -(352) 367-4125
  • Baker & Bradford County Teen Court
    -Baker County: 19 West Macclenny Avenue, Macclenny FL 32063 - (904) 259-3552
    -Bradford County: 113 East Call Street, Starke FL 32091 - (904) 964-2112
    -Cell # for both counties: (904) 424-5085
  • Meridian Behavioral Healthcare Services, Inc. - Mental health counseling, crisis intervention, family counseling, prevention programs
    -Alachua County: 4300 SW 13 Street, Gainesville FL 32608 - (352) 374-5600
    -Bradford County: 945 Grand Street, Starke FL 32091 - (904) 964-8382
    -Gilchrist County: 729 NE 7 Street, Trenton FL 32693 - (352) 463-3145
    -Union County: 395 West Main Street, Lake Butler, FL - (386) 496-2347
  • Creative Counseling
    -4001 West Newberry Road, B-3, Gainesville, FL 32607
    -(352) 373-1218 or (352) 870-5643
    -Bradford County Office: 140 West Call Street, Starke FL 32091 - (352) 870-5643
  • United Way of North Central Florida
    -Dial 211 from any landline or cell phone for a list of human service agencies, recreation opportunities, education programs and government services.
    -United Way of North Central Florida
  • The Professional Academies Magnet at Loften High School - ACCEPT Program: for pregnant or parenting teens, Career education and technical programs. Application required.
    -3000 East University Avenue, Gainesville FL 32641
    -(352) 955-6839
  • Florida Youth Challenge Academy - Residential school for at risk youths ages 16-19.
    -5629 State Road 16 West - Building 3800, Starke FL 32091
    -(904) 276-9304 or (866) 276-9304
    -National Guard Youth Challenge Program
  • PACE Center for Girls - Prevention, diversion and early intervention serving girls ages 12-17
    -1010 SE 4th Avenue, Gainesville FL 32601
    -(352) 374-8799
    -PACE Center for Girls
  • Pleasant Place - Home for pregnant or parenting girls
    -732 NW 4 Street, Gainesville FL 32601
    -(352) 373-6993
    -Pleasant Place
  • Baker Community Counseling Services - Substance abuse counseling, anger management
    -213 East Macclenny Avenue, Macclenny FL 32063
    -(904) 259-0264
    -Baker Community Counseling Services
  • Boys and Girls Clubs of Alachua County - Serves boys and girls ages 6-18. Offers afterschool care, homework assistance, recreation activities, SMART Moves, drug prevention program, SMART choices, violence prevention, Project learn
    -(352) 372-5342
    -NW Unit/Administrative Offices: 2700 NW 51 Street, Gainesville FL 32606 - (352) 373-6639
    -Woodland Park Unit: 331 SE 20 Place, Gainesville Fl 32641 - (352) 377-8003
    -Boys and Girls Clubs of Alachua County
  • Reichert House Youth Academy - Serves boys ages 12-17. Offers athletics, life skills, educational enhanacement and Young Marines program.
    -1704 SE 2nd Avenue, Gainesville FL 32641
    -(352) 334-2320
    -Reichert House Youth Academy
  • Girls to Young Ladies (G2YL) - Serves girls ages 8-17. Academic achievement programs, teen workshops on a variety of topics facing young ladies as they mature into young women.
    -(352) 745-6200
    -Girls to Young Ladies
  • North Central Florida YMCA
    -5201 NW 34 Street, Gainesville FL 32605
    -(352) 374-9622
    -North Central Florida YMCA
  • Bradford - Union YMCA
    -1641 S Walnut Street, Starke FL 32091
    -(904) 964-9622
  • Job Corps of Gainesville
    -5301 NE 40 Terrace, Gainesville FL 32609
    -(352) 377-2555
    -Job Corps of Gainesville