DCF is basically immune from suit in the exercise of their child protection duties. They can be sued for children who are injured while in their care, but not for violating your right by removing your children.
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I agree with my colleague, because of the egregious abuses of children in Florida and other states, in an abundance of caution, the legislature and the courts allow for incredible flexibility under the law in dependency cases. I once had a dependency client who allegedly left a gun out in the open where it was accessible to his children. The abuse hotline report about the gun was made by one of the father's disgruntled relatives. Because of the false allegation, the court ordered a very invasive search of the home in what would have been otherwise classified as an illegal search.
DCF employees are not immune from lawsuits where children are abused or neglected in Foster Homes. There was a $14 Million settlement with Florida DCF over a case of that nature around 2007. The federal suit brought on behalf of 20 children alleged the DCF workers violated the children’s civil rights by depriving them of their rights to life, liberty or property provided in the 14th Amendment’s due process clause of the U.S. Constitution. The abusive foster mother Nellie Johnson received 60 years in prison for abusing the children that she had placed with her.
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