Darien DCF Lawyer
Traditional discipline techniques parents may have applied with their children in the past such as spanking can now often be considered abuse or neglect. Such neglect may be easily reported. Anyone can who feels that a child may be suffering from abuse or neglect can file an anonymous report with the Connecticut Department of Children and Families, referred to as “DCF.”
Once a DCF investigation is opened, it is crucial to contact a Darien DCF lawyer to protect your legal and parental rights. Darien, Connecticut domestic defense attorneys can help provide counsel and representation to work toward the preferred resolution.
While DCF’s mission is to protect the safety interests of children and families, sometimes the process or results can be troublesome or even traumatic. In the name of diligence, actions can be taken that prove quite disruptive.
As Darien, Connecticut DCF investigation attorneys know, there are several key issues to be aware of during DCF investigations. First, although anyone can contact DCF to report suspected abuse or neglect, there are certain categories of individuals who are legally required to report any such suspicions. Defined in the Connecticut code as “mandatory reporters,” these individuals face legal penalties if they fail to report suspected neglect or abuse.
Accordingly, Darien mandated DCF reporters must call in even the slightest concerns regarding a child’s welfare, regardless of how far-fetched they may seem. These mandatory reporters include:
- Dentists and hygienists
- Sports coaches
- Child care providers
- Therapists and counselors
- Police Officers
- Teachers and other school employees
Statements made to Darien police are generally not kept confidential but become part of a DCF investigation record that can be shared with DCF investigators. Parents are often not made aware that they have the right to refuse to answer certain questions.
Parents always have the right to be present when Darien police interview their minor children, but refusing to allow investigators to speak to a child alone can send a signal that the parent has something to hide.
Safety Plan Agreements
Frequently at the start of an investigation, the Darien DCF agents will ask parents to sign a document described as a Service Agreement or Safety Plan. This agreement is presented as a pledge (but really is a binding, legally enforceable contract between them and DCF) to provide a safe environment for their child.
An unfortunate result of signing such an agreement is that if a parent is found to have violated any of its specific provisions, the Department can argue in court that such failure proves that the parents are not providing a safe environment.
On the other hand, if a parent refuses to sign the agreement, the DCF then has the option of seeking a court order in reference to custody. Whether DCF is likely to exercise that option will depend on the circumstances involved.
Consulting with a Darien DCF Attorney
It frequently takes considerable effort to preserve parental and family rights during DCF investigations. In order to preserve those rights, parents need to understand what they are and how they can be endangered by a DCF investigation.
A Darien DCF lawyer with experience in handling these investigations can provide advice as to how to proceed at each point in the proceedings, ensure that necessary facts are presented in the most favorable manner, and serve as an advocate fighting to maintain parental and family rights. To help avoid the risk of a costly mistake with the DCF, contact a Darien DCF attorney right away.