Ridgefield DCF Lawyer
While DCF findings can have a traumatic impact on the life of you and your family, an experienced domestic violence attorney may be able to help you set the record straight. From fighting the investigation to challenging the results on an appeal, a Ridgefield DCF lawyer can play an important role in your case.
What Are Mandatory Reporters to DCF?
In Connecticut, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) is the state agency tasked with investigating allegations of child abuse or neglect. The investigators for this agency jump into action following reports from any number of potential mandatory reporters or based on anonymous complaints.
Many of the initial complaints to DCF come from mandatory reporters. Mandatory reporters are individuals required by law to report to DCF when they suspect incidents of child abuse or neglect. The list of mandatory reporters under state law is set out by Conn. Gen. Stats. § 17a-101(b). The list includes dozens of different professions, including but limited to:
- School employees
- Family therapists
- Members of the clergy
- Medical examiners
- Department of Public Health employees
- Social workers
- Youth coaches
The issue with mandatory reporting is that it often puts these people in a position where they are more fearful of the consequences of not filing a questionable report than they are with the impact it could have on the family in question.
What Can I Do During an Investigation?
Once a DCF investigation begins, it can escalate quickly. Investigators will aggressively intrude into your life in an effort to identify evidence of abuse, even when the underlying complaint offered few specific details. The investigative process can include interviews with the target’s children, neighbors, medical providers, or teachers. This investigation could cause stress and social consequences, no matter its outcome.
A person under investigation by DCF has the right to a Ridgefield defense attorney. Facing this process alone can put unnecessary strain on a person and could increase the risk of an unfavorable outcome.
In the end, the investigators must decide if the allegations against the target of the investigation are substantiated or unsubstantiated. If they find them to be unsubstantiated, that concludes the investigation. If allegations are found to be substantiated, it could result in the removal of the children from home as well as criminal charges.
Can I Appeal a Finding?
With the help of a DCF attorney in Ridgefield, it is possible to appeal a substantiated finding. Following an appeal, a person has the right to a hearing at a local DCF office. During the appeal, that individual has the right to put on evidence and call witnesses. It is also possible for the attorney to cross-examine the lead investigator for DCF. Often, this cross-examination can have a major impact on the outcome of the hearing.
Let a Ridgefield DCF Attorney Help You Defend Yourself
If you have received notice that you are the target of a DCF investigation, you have the right to seek legal counsel right away. Do not take on DCF alone. Click here to read our 5-star reviews at Avvo.com. Reach out to a Ridgefield DCF lawyer immediately to protect your rights and your family.