Fairfield DCF Lawyer
In Connecticut, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) investigates allegations of domestic abuse and/or neglect that may result in harm to children.
If you are currently dealing with, or suspect you will soon be subject to, an investigation by DCF, you should strongly consider contacting a Fairfield DCF lawyer for help with your legal defense.
When Does DCF Open Investigations?
DCF investigations generally originate from either domestic violence charges made against one of their parents or guardians that may indicate a risk of harm to children in that person’s home, or a report made by phone or in writing from a concerned third party. Under Connecticut General Statutes §§17a-101 and 17a-101a, certain individuals like teachers, doctors, and counselors are “mandated reporters” required by law to report any reasonable suspicion that a child is suffering from abuse or neglect.
Depending on the nature of the allegations or charges involved, DCF may elect to pursue a full investigation into a family’s home life, or a comparatively less invasive Family Assessment Response. Either way, the investigatory period will generally last for 45 days, at the end of which DCF will either decline to formally substantiate the allegations or—if they undergo a full investigation—decide whether the allegations are “unsubstantiated” or “substantiated.” A Fairfield DCF attorney could offer further clarification about how this process works, what rights parents and children have during an investigation, and about what specifically to expect while it is ongoing.
What Should I Do After a DCF Substantiation?
If DCF finds reason to substantiate claims of abuse or neglect, there are a few different measures they have the authority to take against the parent(s) or guardians(s) who were subject to the investigation in question. These may include seeking court intervention to order mandatory counseling or supervision for visits with non-custodial children, placement of offending parents or guardians on the DCF central registry, establishment of behavioral plans, and possibly even removal of children from a dangerous situation.
Importantly, parents accused of mistreating their children have the right to appeal any “substantiated” finding that DCF passes down against them. During this process, a parent or guardian may present evidence challenging DCF’s assertions against them, call witnesses to attest to their character and the circumstances of their home life, and seek to have a judge formally overturn a DCF recommendation. Assistance from a DCF lawyer in Fairfield is often critical to achieving a successful outcome in this kind of proceeding.
Seek Help from a Fairfield DCF Attorney
A Fairfield DCF lawyer could help you handle any investigation into your family and protect your legal rights every step of the way. Call today to schedule a consultation with one of our highly recommended lawyers. Read more about us by clicking this link to Avvo.com.