Hiring a Lawyer for a Connecticut DCF Investigation
When an investigator from the Connecticut Department of Children and Families (also known as “DCF”) shows up unannounced at your door, many questions immediately come to mind: Why are they here? Do I have to speak to them? Do I have to let them into my home? Who reported me? Can they take my kids away? All leading up to the threshold question…do I need to hire a Connecticut DCF Investigation lawyer?
If you have to ask these questions in the first place, then it’s clear you could benefit from hiring any of the Connecticut DCF investigation lawyers. Know that there are DCF attorneys who regularly fight DCF investigations that are based on lies and false information, especially in the context of a Connecticut domestic violence arrest.
An aggressive DCF investigation lawyer can run interference with DCF, stop them from approaching and interviewing your children’s health care providers, teachers and school administrators, and protect your family’s reputation by shutting down the DCF investigation as quickly as possible.
So if you are facing a DCF investigation in Connecticut, don’t talk to DCF at first, politely tell them you will call them back to schedule an appointment, and then reach out to a Connecticut DCF attorney who can quickly get you informed and get DCF out of your life.
What is a Connecticut DCF Investigation
Generally, there are two kinds of DCF investigations in Connecticut—a low-risk assessment called a Family Assessment Response, or a “FAR,” and a Full Investigation for abuse or neglect. The high-risk Connecticut DCF “Full Investigation” track requires the DCF investigator to interview all family members living in the home, health care and education providers, and then render a decision as to whether the evidence supports a DCF substantiation of the allegations of abuse or neglect.
Additionally, DCF must make two other findings: 1) whether you pose a threat to the child’s safety and welfare, and 2) whether your substantiation should be recorded in the DCF public registry. Obviously with a Connecticut DCF “Full Investigation,” the stakes and risks to your reputation are extremely high.
In contrast, a Connecticut Family Assessment Response / FAR is a mere assessment by DCF that is initiated by a DCF referral, takes 45 days, and ends with either the DCF worker closing the case and making recommendations, or deciding your case is serious enough to raise the FAR to a Full Investigation.
Connecticut DCF lawyers are often hired by families going through a FAR to run interference and to make sure their DCF FAR investigation does not escalate to a Connecticut DCF Full Investigation.
How To Respond to Connecticut DCF’s First Contact
In many cases, a Connecticut DCF investigator will receive a report of suspected physical or emotional abuse or neglect from their DCF hotline. This is called a Connecticut DCF referral, and DCF investigators are required by law to respond to the children’s home within a very short period of time (usually 24-48 hours). The DCF investigator will knock on your door and want to come in to interview everyone in the home, even your children.
The Connecticut DCF investigators will want to interview each adult and child living in the home, individually, without anyone else in the room. Their purpose is to make sure no undue influence or coercion is exerted on your child during the interview.
During that first visit, don’t agree to anything, or sign any paperwork, especially a Connecticut DCF Safety Plan, without running it by a lawyer. And do not be intimidated by what DCF tells you what they “can” do in certain circumstances (such as going to court to file a neglect petition). Rather, what they usually “will” do is (reluctantly) reschedule your appointment so you can meet with them and your Connecticut DCF lawyer.
Advantages of Hiring a Connecticut DCF Investigation Attorney
The biggest advantage of hiring a Connecticut DCF lawyer for a DCF investigation is protection. These attorneys are not afraid to speak up for you and push back against unreasonable requests from aggressive DCF investigators. Keep in mind that everything you say to a DCF investigator gets written down, or sometimes even audio recorded, by the DCF investigator. That’s why it’s critical to have a DCF investigatory lawyer attorney by your side during the entire DCF interview.
Your lawyer has the right to sit in on each one-on-one interview with you and your children. Your lawyer can protect your from revealing too much to a Connecticut DCF investigator. They can take control of the interview, redirect the DCF investigator from getting too personal or invasive with their questioning, and they can stop the DCF interview at any time if they feel that you or your kids are getting uncomfortable or if the interview has started to go sideways.
Another advantage of hiring any of the best Connecticut DCF lawyers is that during any DCF investigation—whether it is a Family Assessment Response or a Full Investigation—Connecticut DCF investigators will lean heavily on you to sign releases so they can speak with your children’s school, teachers, pediatricians, and other mental health providers.
Most people agree that they do NOT want DCF investigators meddling in their children’s lives, asking questions and raising suspicions that there is an abuse or neglect issue in your home. What’s worse is that DCF will ask questions to these educators and health care providers, and are not even allowed to provide information to them, raising more questions than answers with some of the most important people in your children’s lives.
That’s why a Connecticut DCF attorney will firmly deny DCF investigators the right to sniff around like this, and will instead control the flow of information. They will consider the reasonableness and constitutionality of each DCF request and respond appropriately.
Contact a Connecticut DCF Attorney Today
So if you are facing a Connecticut DCF investigation in Connecticut, contact an attorney today. We are not intimidated by aggressive DCF investigators who get annoyed with families who try to level the playing field in DCF investigations by hiring a lawyer. We will be your shield and will work quickly and cost-effectively to try and get your Connecticut DCF case closed as soon as possible. Call us today at (203) 276-9443.