Appealing DCF Substantiation Findings in New Canaan
Did the Department of Children and Families (DCF) substantiate a report you abused or neglect your children? Appealing DCF substantiation findings with help from a top New Canaan attorney can help your family move forward.
How do I Request a Review of the Substantiation Findings?
The first step in appealing DCF substantiation findings in New Canaan is to request an internal review by the agency. A person who has been substantiated can request an internal review in writing using a standard form available on the Department’s website.
If there are pending criminal or civil court proceedings regarding the allegations of child abuse or neglect, a request for review will be deferred until those matters are resolved. When a court proceeding concludes with a finding that the person accused did commit an act of child abuse or neglect, a request for review of the substantiation will be denied. However, in this situation, a person may still seek review of recommended placement on the Central Registry of child abusers.
What Happens After Requesting an Internal Review?
After receiving the request for review, DCF will examine the case files to determine whether there are sufficient legal and factual grounds to support the finding substantiating allegations of neglect or abuse. If the reviewer believes the information is factually or legally deficient, the finding will be reversed.
DCF is supposed to complete the review within 30 days of receiving the request. If the agency fails to finish within that timeframe or if the review affirms the substantiation, New Canaan families can continue appealing DCF substantiation findings in by requesting a hearing.
What Happens During a DCF Substantiation Hearing?
A hearing takes place before a hearing officer who presides much like a judge in a courtroom. Those accused of abuse or neglect have the right to testify on their own behalf, present their own witnesses, provide documents to support their case, and cross-examine witnesses presented by DCF, including the investigator.
It can be helpful to work with an experienced lawyer who understands the law and what DCF must prove to confirm the substantiation. DCF staff has experience in these hearings, and unrepresented individuals are at a serious disadvantage. It is helpful for individuals and families in New Canaan to have their own legal advocate representing their interests.
If the hearing officer reverses the substantiation finding, DCF is bound by the decision and may not appeal. However, if the hearing confirms the substantiation, the person accused can then appeal in Connecticut Superior Court.
A New Canaan Attorney Can Help You Appeal DCF Substantiation Findings
A DCF finding substantiating allegations of child neglect or abuse can be devastating for New Canaan families. Because the outcome can impact both the well being of the family and the career of the person accused, it is wise to contest the findings in many situations.
An experienced attorney could review the facts of a case and explain your options for appealing DCF substantiation findings in New Canaan. It is important for all those accused to understand their rights and how to protect them. Call Mark Sherman Law to learn more and schedule a consultation.