New Canaan DCF Investigations
Are you the subject of a New Canaan DCF investigation? Reach out to a top New Canaan defense attorney today for help protecting your family’s rights and privacy.
What Triggers a DCF Investigation?
Oftentimes a call from a mandated reporter about suspected abuse or neglect will trigger a New Canaan DCF investigation. These individuals are required by law to report any suspected abuse or neglect.
What Must a Mandated Reporter Do?
Mandated reporters are required to report all cases where they have “reasonable cause to suspect or believe” that a minor under the age of 18 has been abused or neglected, or suffered a suspicious injury. Mandated reporters must also report situations they believe place a child in “imminent risk of serious harm.”
If a mandated reporter fails to make a report in a timely fashion, they may be found guilty of a felony. At the same time, those who make reports in good faith are protected from employment retaliation and civil liability if a report should turn out to be false. Mandated reporters have more of a legal incentive to report any hint of suspected abuse than to refrain, which could trigger a New Canaan DCF investigation in a situation where it is not actually warranted.
Who Qualifies as a Mandated Reporter?
People in many occupations who work with children are treated as “mandated reporters” under Connecticut General Statutes (C.G.S.) §17a-101, including the following:
- Doctors and nurses
- School employees
- Social workers
- Police officers
- Child care providers
What Happens During a DCF Investigation?
During a DCF investigation in New Canaan, investigators are looking to see if they can substantiate the report of abuse or neglect. To do so, they will need to speak with all children in the home, and they will want to do so without parents or other siblings present. Although you may refuse to consent, doing so could lead DCF to suspect your family has something to hide. In many cases, it is better to allow the questioning to proceed but to have an attorney present to safeguard your child’s rights.
DCF investigators are also likely to want to interview others, such as neighbors, doctors, teachers, and other school personnel. For privacy reasons, this may not be desirable. An attorney may be able to negotiate a compromise where a third party seeks out required information so that DCF investigators are not asking questions that could cause embarrassment to your family.
Important Considerations During DCF Investigations
Although interviews during New Canaan DCF investigations may appear informal, all information collected becomes part of the official record. Anything you say to DCF investigators can be reported to judges, law enforcement officials, and others involved with the case. Therefore, it is important to take measures to ensure that your statements cannot be taken out of context and used against you.
It is also important to read and understand the terms of any agreements entered into with DCF before signing the documents. Failure to adhere to all terms could provide DCF with reasons to find you unfit as a parent or the home situation harmful to your child’s wellbeing.