Norwalk DCF Lawyer
Are you under investigation by DCF due to a domestic violence arrest? A Norwalk DCF lawyer could help prevent you from unintentionally forfeiting your rights or making statements that could later be used against you.
What is the Connecticut Department of Children and Families?
The Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF) frequently conducts investigations in Norwalk to determine whether a minor is suffering from abuse or neglect.
During the course of the investigation, staff from DCF will inspect your home, interview your family, and may ask questions about you to your neighbors, your child’s teachers, and others who come in contact with your family.
What Prompts a DCF Investigation?
DCF frequently launches an investigation into the health and safety of a child’s living situation after receiving a report of suspected abuse or neglect from a mandated reporter or concerned individual. In other cases, a DCF investigation is triggered by an arrest when children are present or nearby. A family may not realize they are under investigation until a DCF agent shows up on the doorstep asking questions.
Should I Cooperate with DCF?
It is important for families to understand that anything they say to an investigator can be shared with other law enforcement agents, including those involved with a criminal case. Moreover, statements and actions can be taken out of context, so it is wise to seek advice from a Norwalk DCF lawyer before answering questions or making statements.
It is also wise to have an attorney review any agreements presented by DCF before signing. Failure to abide by any terms of these agreements could give the agency the right to take additional action.
How Does a DCF Investigation Conclude?
DCF is required to conclude the initial investigation within 45 days. If the agency finds there is some evidence to support the allegations of abuse or neglect, the agency may issue a report stating that these allegations are substantiated. The burden of proof required for substantiation is much lower than that required for a criminal conviction and DCF may substantiate based solely on circumstantial evidence.
Can I Appeal a DCF Finding?
Yes. When someone accused of child neglect or abuse requests an appeal, the agency conducts an internal review based on information presented in the report. During the review, DCF may decide to reverse the finding. However, if they do not, the accused may request a hearing.
During the hearing, the person against whom the substantiation finding was entered has the right to present evidence to refute the findings. Moreover, DCF bears the burden of proving guilt by a preponderance of the evidence.
However, the standard is still lower than it would be in a criminal proceeding. A Norwalk DCF lawyer could provide representation during an appeal and work for a positive resolution of the case against you.
Work with an Experienced Norwalk DCF Attorney
A DCF substantiation finding could have long term implications. The results may be published in a public registry, which could lead to personal embarrassment and professional complications. The findings could trigger further action, including limitations on parental rights or even removal of the child from your home.
When you work with an experienced Norwalk DCF lawyer, you gain a legal advocate who will fight for your rights and the welfare of your family. Having an ally can prepare you for the process and help you avoid common mistakes that increase the potential for adverse consequences. For a free consultation to learn how a knowledgeable DCF attorney could help you reach a positive outcome, call Mark Sherman Law.