Westport DCF Investigations Lawyer
Are you under investigation by the Connecticut Department of Children and Families in Westport? A Westport DCF investigations lawyer could help protect your family and work towards a positive resolution of your case.
What Happens in a DCF Investigation?
In some situations, DCF conducts a full investigation, while in others, the investigation is described as a “Family Assessment Response.” This is often referred to by Westport DCF investigation attorneys as an FAR.
When DCF responds to a report of abuse and finds that the children are not in immediate danger, they may initiate a FAR, which is supposed to help families find resources to meet their needs. However, if DCF finds just cause, they can turn the FAR into a full investigation to determine substantiation.
In most cases, DCF is expected to conclude an investigation within 45 days. However, if DCF “substantiates” the findings of abuse or neglect, the process can continue much longer.
Will DCF Visit My Home?
Yes. A crucial component of a DCF investigation involves visits to the child’s residence. To see how families function, investigators often prefer to arrive without warning to interview family members and inspect the home. Unless a court has ordered otherwise, the person under investigation can ask the investigator to come back at a mutually agreeable time when their Westport DCF investigations attorney can be present.
Will DCF Interview My Children?
Investigators often need to ask parents’ permission before interviewing children. While parents have the right to refuse, exercising that right could send up a red flag indicating that the family is trying to hide something. It is advisable to be polite in a DCF investigation but to speak with an attorney for advice before allowing your child to answer questions.
Should I Hire an Attorney Before Speaking with DCF?
Yes. A lawyer who is familiar with the DCF investigations process can help prepare and protect the family. For example, if questioning becomes too invasive, a DCF investigations lawyer in Westport could attempt to end a line of questions or have questions rephrased.
Attorneys realize that statements made during a DCF investigation may be used against a family later, even in a different proceeding. Therefore, a DCF lawyer could help family members answer questions in a manner that is truthful but avoids self-incrimination.
Often, DCF will ask a family to sign a service agreement or safety plan. These agreements may contain terms that are difficult to comply with, but failure to fulfill terms could later be used as evidence of abuse or neglect. It is a good idea to have a DCF attorney review any documents before signing.
Consult a Westport DCF Investigations Attorney
DCF investigations can be frightening because so much is at stake. Working with a dedicated legal advocate who understands DCF procedures could provide peace of mind. Your attorney can tell you what to expect and how to deal with it in the most effective manner.
Before agreeing to sign documents or answering questions from DCF, you should seek advice from a Westport DCF lawyer. The DCF investigation process can have positive outcomes if managed correctly, and a DCF attorney could explain how to do just that. Call Mark Sherman Law today to learn more.