Process of a New Canaan DCF Investigation
Is the Department of Children and Families (DCF) investigating you for suspected child abuse or neglect? Reach out to a top DCF attorney for advice and support throughout the process of a New Canaan DCF investigation.
Should I Get a Lawyer for a New Canaan DCF Investigation?
During the process of a New Canaan DCF investigation, the agency will utilize the services of investigators and attorneys who are familiar with investigation proceedings. A family under investigation could benefit from having an equally experienced advocate to help them during the process.
A DCF attorney could explain the types of questions to expect and how to answer without making statements that could be used against you later. An attorney can also be present during interviews to redirect questioning if it becomes too invasive. Working with an attorney enables families to protect their rights so they can work toward a positive outcome.
How Does a DCF Investigation Begin?
DCF is required to initiate an investigation in a few situations, if a mandated reporter calls regarding potential neglect or abuse, if a tip is made to the anonymous hotline, or if children are present when police make an arrest in a domestic violence situation.
What is a Mandated Reporter?
These are professionals who work with children, such as school employees, doctors, or therapists. They have a legal duty to report suspected abuse or neglect. Failure to do so can result in criminal charges, so they often err on the side of caution when deciding to make a report.
How Do I Know if DCF is Investigating My Family?
Many times, a family will not be aware they are under investigation until someone from DCF knocks on the door. While investigators frequently like to catch a family unprepared, those under investigation do have the right to ask an investigator to come back at a later time when an attorney can be present.
Should I Cooperate with DCF Investigators?
It is a good idea to avoid hostility during the process of a New Canaan DCF investigation because it could give the appearance that you have something to hide. While politeness is advisable, though, it is not required of you to answer every question or accept every request. An attorney could provide guidance when to comply and when to politely refuse a request.
For instance, families can run into problems when they agree to the terms of a “safety plan” or service agreement. Many people don’t know that this is a binding legal contract. If they sign the document and later violate any of the terms, even unintentionally, that can be taken as evidence of misconduct and used to demonstrate that a child may be at risk.
When Does a DCF Investigation Conclude?
DCF is supposed to complete their investigation within 45 days. At the end, the agency will issue findings reporting that they believe the allegations of abuse or neglect are either substantiated or unsubstantiated. A finding of substantiation indicates that investigators found some evidence to support allegations, but it is not a definitive result.
However, unless the findings are challenged through an appeal, the substantiation finding could stand on the record as showing your family is responsible for abuse or neglect. Therefore, it is usually recommended that if a family receives a notice of substantiation, they file an appeal.
Let a New Canaan DCF Attorney Guide Your Family
The process of a New Canaan DCF investigation can be intrusive and scary. However, a knowledgeable DCF lawyer could help defend you against the allegations and work toward a result in your family’s best interests. Check out what former clients have to say about working with the lawyers at Mark Sherman’s office on Avvo.com and then call Mark Sherman Law today for a consultation.