Process of a Darien DCF Investigation
It is wise to exercise caution during the process of a Darien DCF investigation. If you’re being investigated by DCF, let an experienced attorney help protect your rights and work toward a positive outcome from the investigation.
What is DCF?
The Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF) is the state agency charged with protecting children from abuse and neglect. The agency also engages with children in the juvenile justice system as well as those who have emotional, mental health, or substance abuse issues.
When Does DCF Launch an Investigation?
Professionals who work with children on a regular basis are required by law to notify DCF if they suspect a child may be suffering from neglect or abuse. If they fail to report a case, these professionals (known as mandated reporters) may face criminal charges, so many choose to err on the side of caution and report a situation even if the evidence is slim.
DCF is required to investigate reports submitted by these mandated reporters. Furthermore, the agency evaluates and investigates reports of abuse submitted anonymously via a hotline. DCF also launches investigations in Darien when police report that children are present at the scene of a domestic violence incident.
Will DCF Come to My Home and Interview My Children?
Investigators will visit the home during the process of a DCF investigation and will want to conduct interviews with all family members. In most cases, they must receive permission from parents or guardians before interviewing minor children.
It is usually a good idea to grant consent to avoid giving the appearance of having something to hide. Moreover, it is always a good idea to be polite with investigators. However, to avoid making statements that could lead to self-incrimination, family members should consult with an attorney before answering questions from investigators.
How Does a DCF Investigation Conclude?
The process of a Darien DCF investigation ends with a report based on the recommendations of the investigators. This report will either describe the allegations of neglect or abuse as “substantiated” or “unsubstantiated.” A substantiation finding can have serious ramifications. However, it is based only on the opinion of an investigator and may be challenged through an appeal process.
When the DCF issues a substantiation finding, it can come across as a “guilty” verdict, but the standard of proof is less rigorous than in criminal court proceedings. For that reason, it is usually advisable to appeal a substantiation finding to allow the accused individual an opportunity to present evidence on their own behalf and to challenge the assumptions raised by the DCF.
Let a Darien DCF Attorney Guide You Through the Investigation Process
An experienced DCF attorney could help your family prepare for questioning and prevent an unnecessary invasion of your privacy. In addition, an attorney could help your family present the best evidence to defend against allegations of abuse during the process of a Darien DCF investigation. Call Mark Sherman Law today for a consultation.