Connecticut DCF Lawyer
Finding out you are under investigation by the Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF) can often be an intimidating and confusing experience. You may wonder exactly what it is you did to cause the investigation, whether or not you should speak to investigators, and what will happen to you and your children.
Connecticut DCF is responsible for child protection, meaning they must take any signs or reports of abuse seriously and act quickly, often without any prior notice. If DCF is investigating you and your family for a domestic violence offense or otherwise, it is important that you retain the services of an experienced Connecticut DCF attorney as soon as possible in order to ensure that your rights are protected.
What is the Department of Children and Families?
The Connecticut Department of Children and Families or “DCF” is a state agency. Its general responsibilities include protecting children from harm or neglect and investigating instances where it may have occurred. Typically, under state law the Department of Children and Families is required to investigate when it receives a report that a child may have been hurt or neglected.
Mandated Reporters in CT
Under Connecticut law, certain groups of people are referred to as “mandated reporters”. These individuals are required to contact the DCF if they suspect or have reason to believe that a minor is experiencing abuse or neglect. Mandated reporters include police officers, teachers, child care providers, health professionals, and counselors.
DCF Investigations in Connecticut
In a full DCF investigation, a caseworker will typically come to a family’s home, talk to family members, and examine the children in question for potential physical and emotional signs of abuse or neglect. The caseworker will even want to see each child’s bed to check on his or her living situation. DCF will follow this visit up with additional visits – sometimes once a week or once every two weeks, and will request records from your child’s school and health care providers.
Generally, DCF has 45 days from the initial referral to complete its investigation. After an investigation is completed, DCF will issue a report that either concludes the claims were “substantiated” or “unsubstantiated.” Additionally, it will determine whether one or more caretaker(s) will be placed on its Central Registry.
If the DCF opens a case, they have the authority to decide whether or not to take the child out of the home right away or proceed to court. All decisions are handled on a case-by-case basis, and DCF personnel will typically meet with the family to discuss a rehabilitation plan.
What is a Family Assessment Response (FAR)?
A FAR is a less intrusive version of DCF’s full investigation. A caseworker will still show up at your home, interview all caretakers, and speak with all children. However, at the end of the 45-day period, DCF will not formally substantiate any charges. It is important to remember that DCF can always change its investigation from a Family Assessment Response to a full investigation if it is concerned about children in the home.
Can I Appeal a DCF Substantiation in CT?
Yes, you can. It is important to note that if the investigation leads to a “substantiated” finding, a person can file an appeal of the decision in court. During an appeals process, a person can call witnesses, present evidence and offer testimony to an objective judge who will determine if the substantiation should be overturned.
Working with an Attorney
Being investigated by Connecticut DCF can be extremely stressful and difficult for a family. Sometimes, parents and children do not know whether or not they can refuse to speak to a DCF investigator, or what types of information are appropriate to share.
Although you are not legally required to cooperate with DCF personnel or let them into your home, there are consequences for that. Your side of the story will be left out of the picture, which can be detrimental to the overall effects of the investigation.
An experienced Connecticut DCF attorney can assist in navigating this tricky experience. Attorneys who have worked on many DCF cases understand in which circumstances it would be best to cooperate with the DCF, and what information you should discuss. Talking to an experienced attorney will help make the process less confusing while ensuring your rights are protected at all times.
Contact a Connecticut DCF Attorney Today
If the DCF is investigating you or your family, it is imperative that you seek the assistance of a skilled Connecticut DCF lawyer who has extensive experience navigating these complicated matters.
To secure the best outcome possible for you and your family, and ensure your rights are protected every step of the way, contact a DCF attorney as soon as possible and check out our extensive content channel on fighting Connecticut DCF investigations.
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If you are reading this it is because you need help immediately . . . Call Attorney Sherman right now and follow his advice. He knows how to protect your family.
Even if you are innocent you need Mr. Sherman on your side. Having a lawyer made our situation better (not worse). DCF and their "experts" will suspect someone is guilty of something. Parents are automatically suspected as well. The DCF nurse privately told us that every family needs a lawyer when DCF is involved. Just concentrate on taking care of your family, and let Mr. Sherman handle DCF. Follow his advice and trust him. He is amazing.
DCF started investigating our family at 10pm. I called Attorney Sherman at midnight, and he called back immediately with step-by-step instructions. The next morning Mr. Sherman started making phone calls to the right people at DCF. He planned intelligently to stay 2 or 3 steps ahead of the game the whole time.
Attorney Sherman worked around the clock (weekends too) to get the accusations dropped. Afterward, he followed up with DCF and the police to make sure that all investigations were really 100% closed. He has a great relationship with law enforcement, and he knows how to make a bad situation better.