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Serving Flagler, Putnam, St. Johns, and Volusia Counties




Ref: FM-2015-031-SC

WHEREAS, pursuant to § 39.001(1)(c), Florida Statutes, the child protection system is intended to reflect a partnership between the Department of Children and Families, the Court, other agencies, law enforcement, service providers, and local communities, and

WHEREAS, pursuant to § 39.402(14)(e), Florida Statutes, dependency proceedings are intended to be completed in a timely fashion;

NOW THEREFORE, I, TERENCE R. PERKINS, Chief Judge of the Seventh Judicial Circuit of Florida, hereby order as follows:

    1. This Order pertains to all cases in which a Shelter Petition is filed in the Seventh Judicial Circuit and is effective at the time of filing of such petitions.
    2. In every case in which the Department of Children and Families (DCF) files a Shelter Petition pursuant to § 39.402(6), Fla.Stat., the Guardian ad Litem program for the Seventh Circuit is provisionally appointed for shelter hearings (see § 39.402(8)(c)(1), Fla.Stat.).  In addition, the Office of Criminal Conflict and Civil Regional Counsel for the Fifth District and attorneys on the Court’s court-appointed dependency attorney registry are provisionally appointed for the purpose of representing parents at shelter hearings (see § 39.402(8)(c)(2), Fla.Stat.). The appointment of the Guardian ad Litem program and attorneys for parents for proceedings subsequent to shelter proceedings shall be made by separate order of a presiding judge.
    3. Upon finalizing a Shelter Petition, DCF, or its designee, is to immediately provide the petition to authorized court personnel, the attorneys appointed pursuant to this order, and the Guardian ad Litem program.
    4. Any person receiving a Shelter Petition must keep it and the information contained therein confidential and may not disclose it to anyone other than those authorized to receive it (see § 39.202, Fla.Stat.). Failure to comply with the terms of this Order may be punishable by contempt of court.  Any party seeking to modify the terms of this Order in a specific case must submit a written motion and schedule same for hearing before the presiding judge.

TO BE RECORDED in Flagler, Putnam, St. Johns and Volusia counties.

DONE AND ORDERED in Datona Beach, Volusia County, Florida, this 27th day of May 2015.

/s/ Terence R. Perkins
Terence R. Perkins
Chief Judge

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Serving Flagler, Putnam, St. Johns and Volusia Counties