New Canaan DCF LawyerIf someone feels a family’s actions or inactions are preventing their children from getting the care, supervision, and attention they should, a report or “referral” may sometimes be filed against them and their family, which leads to unwanted and unfair intervention and investigation by New Canaan Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF) investigators.
This is a frightening prospect for parents because it can eventually result in their children being removed from their custody. That is why solid legal advice from skilled investigation attorneys is crucial if you are facing this situation. New Canaan DCF lawyers can provide counsel on how to proceed and can serve as your advocate to work toward the best possible resolution in DCF cases and get DCF out of your lives as quickly as possible.
How a New Canaan DCF Case Gets Started
Anyone can file a report or make a phone call to refer suspected child abuse or neglect. However, those with certain jobs bear a legal responsibility to file reports when they suspect a minor may be suffering from neglect or abuse, even if there is little basis for the suspicion. This category of “mandated reporters” includes health care professionals, school employees, and police officers.
New Canaan DCF attorneys know that something as simple as a bruise on a child’s leg can raise suspicions and trigger a report to the DCF hotline. Because these mandatory reporters face civil and criminal penalties if they fail to report, they have more of an incentive to make DCF referrals in cases where evidence is vague or minimal.
Moreover, police report to a domestic violence 911 call while children are present—regardless of whether New Canaan Police even make an arrest–Connecticut law requires the police to make a DCF referral so DCF can initiate an investigation into the New Canaan family’s situation and family issues.
DCF Investigation Process
New Canaan DCF lawyers know that at the end of an investigation, DCF must reach a conclusion as to whether the reported abuse or neglect is substantiated within a certain time period after the referral.
That is why the DCF investigation can become intense, involving multiple visits to the home and questioning of family, doctors, friends, educators and, even in some cases, neighbors. The process can be disturbing to both the parents and children and raise suspicions about a person and their family around their community. It is important at this time to be aware of legal privacy rights and maintain vigilance in asserting those rights.
In addition to determining whether a report of neglect or abuse is unsubstantiated, the Department will also make a determination as to whether parents or caregivers could prove to be a danger to the child’s physical or emotional health. Once New Canaan DCF investigators render a decision, if the outcome is unfavorable to parents, it can be appealed. During an appeal, parties may call witnesses and the findings of the investigation can be challenged to ensure the burden of proof is satisfied. Assistance from an experienced New Canaan DCF lawyer can prove especially valuable at this point in the proceedings.
How a New Canaan DCF Lawyer Can Help
Throughout any DCF investigation, a number of key issues and questions will arise. It is important to understand the implications of documents such as “service agreements” or “safety plans” which can sometimes make it easier for the Department to remove a child from the home. In addition, those being investigated should be aware of how statements may be used against them and when they have the right to refuse to answer questions or give statements.
An experienced New Canaan DCF lawyer can explain the situation, provide advice as the best course of action to take throughout the course of an investigation, and advocate during any necessary court appearances or appeals. A Connecticut DCF investigation is a serious matter requiring serious action. Call an attorney today to have experience on your side.