Norwalk DCF Investigations
Do I Have to Speak to DCF?
When an investigation for reported abuse or neglect is opened by DCF, DCF will reach out to a child’s guardian to ask questions or to request a statement regarding the allegations. When families answer questions or make statements to DCF investigators, the information provided is kept by the agency and may be shared with law enforcement officials or used in court. Importantly, anything said during a Norwalk DCF investigation can be used against a family to keep a DCF case alive or to bolster DCF’s position in court.
Anyone being investigated by Norwalk DCF has the right to remain silent during an investigation, but they can forfeit this right if they are not careful. It’s often helpful to be assisted by an experienced Norwalk DCF attorney, to protect a family’s rights and their privacy when DCF investigations become unnecessarily invasive.
What are Service Agreements and Safety Plans?
During the course of a Norwalk DCF investigation, parents or guardians may be asked to sign a document which may be labeled a “safety plan” or “service agreement.” Investigators may describe the document as a pledge to provide a safe environment for the minor child.
Safety agreements typically require parents or guardians to submit to services that are often not necessary. A violation of one of these conditions or terms could be used against a family as evidence of a safety violation. For this reason, it is wise to have a legal adviser examine the terms of any agreement before signing.
Will Norwalk DCF Visit my Home?
DCF is supposed to conduct at least one home visit during an investigation, along with an evaluation of the parents and living conditions. Information from this visit will be included in an investigation report.
According to Connecticut law, the agency must obtain consent from parents or caregivers before interviewing children. However, the consent requirement is waived if the parent or caregiver is alleged to be the source of the abuse, or if the process of obtaining consent would place the child at risk of harm.
Although parents may deny consent or insist on being present for the interview, this approach may result in a court-ordered interview which can be traumatic for a child and could result in the child’s removal from the home. Having an attorney present during Norwalk DCF interviews can help protect family rights without causing undue concerns or delays.
Contact Mark Sherman Law Today for Help During a Norwalk DCF Investigation
In addition to providing assistance during interviews, a legal advocate may be able to assist with other aspects of a Norwalk DCF investigation. A knowledgeable attorney can explain what to expect during the DCF investigation process as well as the potential outcomes. While a DCF investigation may be painful for a family, the process can be easier to endure with guidance from an experienced legal advocate. Call Mark Sherman Law today to schedule a consultation.