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    Ridgefield DCF Investigations

    No matter what leads to the Department of Children and Families (“DCF”) investigating you, it is vital that you approach this process as proactively and effectively as possible. Everything you say and do during a Ridgefield DCF investigation is closely scrutinized and can significantly impact your and your family’s lives.

    When Does DCF Decide to Open an Investigation?

    There are two main reasons that the Connecticut DCF will decide to formally start an investigation into a Ridgefield resident. The first of these reasons is an arrest on suspicion of a criminal offense categorized as “family violence.” More specifically, DCF may decide to investigate someone arrested for a family violence offense if they have any suspicion that the person’s actions either directly targeted or indirectly endangered children in their household. Notably, there is no requirement that there be a conviction or that charges be filed in the first place for DCF to begin an investigation. The entire process can start and end while a criminal case is still ongoing.

    The other reason DCF will commonly open an investigation is based on a report from a third party, such as a family member of the allegedly endangered child(ren) or a “mandated reporter” like a doctor or teacher. Either way, these reports are confidential, and DCF generally must act within 24 to 48 hours of receiving a report they believe is credible.

    What Evidence Do DCF Investigators Look For?

    Importantly, DCF investigators are not law enforcement officers and are not looking for evidence of criminal activity during a DCF investigation in Ridgefield. Instead, their priority is to determine whether there are any indicators of abuse or neglect that might put that child at risk of physical, psychological, and/or moral harm.

    It is also worth emphasizing that DCF investigations are not strictly limited to the specific allegations that led to the investigation in the first place. If an investigator finds evidence of child abuse or neglect that has nothing to do with an ongoing family violence case and was not mentioned in any previous report, they can and will factor that into the decision they make when the investigation concludes.

    Possible Outcomes of a DCF Investigation

    If DCF determines through an investigation that there is “reasonable cause” to believe child abuse or neglect has happened inside the household they are investigating, they will notify the family or individual that the allegations against them have been “substantiated.” This is generally a prelude to disciplinary action taken by DCF. Alternatively, DCF may declare allegations to be “unsubstantiated” if they find no evidence of mistreatment or if they do not find enough evidence to establish “reasonable cause” to suspect that a child is in danger.

    Let a Ridgefield Attorney Help Throughout a DCF Investigation

    DCF investigations are exhausting and stressful experiences that can become life-altering if they end with the substantiation of neglect or abuse. Fortunately, you have the right to retain legal counsel to help you defend yourself, your rights, and your loved ones during Ridgefield DCF investigations. Call the Law Offices of Mark Sherman today to learn more, and click here to visit our Avvo profile with over 300 certified reviews to hear what past clients have to say about us.