Interacting with Darien DCF
Are you under investigation by the Department of Children and Families (DCF) for suspected child abuse or neglect? An experienced Darien attorney could provide advice to help you interact with DCF in a manner most likely to protect your family.
Should I Cooperate with DCF?
When DCF is called to investigate a situation, they are looking for signs of child neglect or abuse. Sometimes, when people go in looking for evidence of a particular result, they see it, even when it is not truly there.
While it can be scary to be investigated by DCF, it is important to be respectful and calm, cooperating within the limits of your rights.
Anything said to an investigator can be used against your family later, both in the DCF investigation or in a criminal proceeding. Therefore, having an attorney present when DCF interviews you can be helpful. They can step in and stop questioning if it gets too invasive.
What Happens if I Refuse to Cooperate with DCF?
While it is wise to avoid extensive conversations with investigators until you consult with an attorney, you should also avoid hostility and remain polite. Hostility may provoke an unsupportive response from the investigator or may be taken as a sign that your family has something to hide.
In addition, if investigators are met with flat out refusal to cooperate, they may elect to submit a report that substantiates findings of neglect or abuse without your input. So, the key is to cooperate to a limited degree, preferably when an attorney can be present during questioning.
Should I Sign a Safety Plan or Service Agreement?
When a government agency asks someone to agree to a safety plan, it can be hard to say, “no.” However, declining to sign a safety plan or service agreement proposed by DCF may be the right move in some situations.
After signing this type of agreement, you are legally bound to fulfill the terms. Violating any part of the safety plan or service agreement could subject your family to penalties. Additionally, breach of the agreement may be used to demonstrate that the family environment may pose risks for your child.
If possible, it is wise to have an experienced DCF attorney review any proposed agreements. A lawyer can explain the terms so that families can make an informed decision.
Before Interacting with DCF, Consult a Darien Attorney
Individuals and families who do not understand how to protect their rights could unintentionally forfeit those rights while interacting with Darien DCF investigators. Advice from a knowledgeable attorney could prepare your family and help prevent an investigation from becoming unnecessarily invasive.
Before consulting with an attorney, it is advisable to keep interactions polite but to avoid volunteering information or agreeing to future actions. A balanced approach when working with the DCF can help lead to a positive outcome. Call Mark Sherman Law to see how an attorney could help in your situation.