Darien DCF Investigations
Are you under investigation by the Department of Children and Families (DCF) for suspected child abuse or neglect? A skilled defense attorney can help protect your family’s rights and privacy during Darien DCF investigations.
Should I Speak to DCF Investigators?
Families in Darien are often uncertain about how much to cooperate with DCF during the investigation process. Families under investigation need to realize that anything they say or do could be used against them both by the DCF and by police in a criminal investigation. Although investigators in Darien DCF investigations may appear friendly and informal, they are looking for evidence to support allegations of wrongdoing, and anything they think may be relevant could be shared with others.
The best plan of action is to consult an experienced DCF attorney before undergoing interviews or home visits. DCF investigators like to arrive unannounced, but those under investigation have the right to ask them to return when an attorney can be present. An attorney can help prevent an invasion of privacy or advise you about how make statements in a way that protects your family.
What is a Safety Plan or Service Agreement?
As part of an investigation, DCF frequently asks parents or guardians to agree to a safety plan or other type of plan nominally intended to protect children in the home. Signing any agreement creates a legally binding contract with negative consequences if any of the terms are breached. A breach gives DCF the ability to take additional action against a family.
Violations can also be used as evidence that parents are failing to provide a safe home for their children. To prevent these difficulties, a DCF attorney could review the terms with the family to determine whether it is wise to agree to the plan or to decline.
Do I Have to Allow DCF to Interview My Children?
DCF is obligated to seek permission before interviewing minor children during Darien DCF investigations, unless circumstances justify bypassing that requirement. Although parents have the right to refuse consent, it is generally wise to allow an interview, preferably with an attorney present.
Denying permission could raise a red flag to DCF. Refusing to speak to investigators or behaving rudely can give the same impression. Overall, it is usually advisable to remain polite without volunteering information and to obtain legal advice before answering questions.
Let a Darien Attorney Help with Your DCF Investigation
Darien DCF investigations generally conclude within 45 days with the agency making a report that allegations of abuse or neglect are either substantiated or unsubstantiated. If you are under investigation and receive a notice of substantiation, you have the right to appeal that finding, and it is usually wise to take advantage of that right. To learn more about appeals, click here.
A knowledgeable DCF attorney could assist at any stage in the process, including appeals. To learn more about how an attorney can help your family, call Mark Sherman Law today.