Greenwich DCF Investigations
Connecticut DCF will usually dispatch a social worker investigator who leads an investigative team that will examine and assess an individual’s family when they believe they have a reason to investigate a case of abuse. The social worker begins their investigation with an unannounced visit to the home.
The Greenwich DCF investigation will be classified as either a Full investigation, which will ultimately lead to a determination of whether or not the abuse and neglect was substantiated or unsubstantiated by the evidence, or they will conduct a Family Assessment Response, also known as a FAR, which is a lower risk assessment or investigation. These investigations are not conducted by police officers, however, they are still serious making it important to contact an experienced DCF attorney if under investigation.
Beginning of an Investigation
The Greenwich DCF investigation process usually begins with an unannounced, surprise visit to an individual’s home or a phone call that will hopefully catch the individual off guard, in the most natural state. If an individual is contacted , that individual has the right to first speak with an attorney, to ask the investigator to come back later, and to reschedule the appointment. The individual should not be intimidated by DCF if the investigator says they have to talk to them.
An individual also does not have to let the Social Worker Investigator into his home under any circumstances. If the Social Worker Investigator does not have a warrant, an individual should not let them in his home without talking to an attorney first.
Types of DCF Investigations
There are two types of DCF investigations in Greenwich, Connecticut. The high risk, or full investigation, results in a substantiation or unsubstantiation finding, and that finding may be recorded in the DCF Central Registry. The Central Registry is a publicly available database which will state whether or not DCF believes the individual is a continued risk to the safety of the child involved in the investigation. Alternatively, and what most families prefer, is the lower risk FAR investigation that does not result in any finding, but at any moment during the 45-days, could escalate or be elevated into a Full Investigation.
There are no risks necessarily involved with appealing a DCF substantiation. When an individual files an appeal, they can sometimes put pressure on DCF to reverse the appeal.
What Does a DCF Investigation Process Entail?
The Greenwich Connecticut DCF Investigator typically interviews each member of the family alone. Sometimes, they will audio record the interviews. They may ask invasive questions about that person and their family. They will want to interview each of the children individually without the parent in the room. They will ask each child how each parent disciplines them. They will ask about each parent’s drinking habits, mental health history, prior domestic violence, education, job history, and their typical daily lives.
The assessment will usually take 45 days. However, if the person of interest does not cooperate properly, DCF can sometimes extend its intervention and interference for up to six months or even a year.
What Are Neglect Petitions?
In certain cases that become very serious, Greenwich Connecticut DCF may file a Neglect Petition in Superior Court in Stamford, Connecticut. Those are very serious and if a DCF mentions filing a neglect petition, an individual should immediately contact an attorney. A Neglect Petition asks a judge to intervene into an individual’s family and can order the children be taken out of that person’s home and placed into foster care, or into the custody of third parties.
Order of Temporary Removal
An Order of Temporary Removal, called an OTR, is a court order that removes a parent’s children from their home temporarily. It is a court order that DCF sometimes seeks in very serious cases. However, understand that these are very serious orders that affect where an individual’s children will reside and must be fought aggressively in Stamford Superior Court.
Contact an Attorney if You are Under Investigation by the DCF in Greenwich
Reach out to Mark Sherman Law for qualified legal representation if you are currently the subject of a Greenwich DCF investigation.