Process of a DCF Investigation in Norwalk
Do DCF investigators suspect you of abusing or neglecting your children? Let a top defense attorney protect your interests at every step of the DCF investigation process in Norwalk.
What is DCF?
The Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF) is responsible for investigating and remedying allegations of child abuse and neglect throughout the state. A report of alleged abuse and neglect comes into a central DCF hotline and triggers the process of a DCF investigation in Norwalk. DCF workers then decide whether there is adequate evidence of abuse or neglect that warrants further action or substantiation.
What Happens When DCF Receives a Report?
Once DCF receives a referral of suspected abuse or neglect, workers immediately conduct a risk assessment. Most cases are assigned to another worker for further investigation.
The DCF investigation process in Norwalk begins very quickly following a referral, as DCF only has 45 days from the date of the report to either substantiate or dismiss the allegations of abuse or neglect.
Will DCF Interview my Family?
DCF investigations vary, but they routinely involve multiple interviews and questioning of parents, caretakers, and children. DCF workers often visit and inspect homes, visit children at their schools and daycares, and speak with others who have frequent contact with the children. Depending on the situation, DCF workers may also speak with neighbors and other family members. Furthermore, many of these visits are unannounced, meaning that families are often caught off-guard and are given no chance to prepare for the arrival of investigators.
What is a Service Agreement or Safety Plan?
During the DCF investigation process in Norwalk, workers may offer families service agreements or safety plans. These are written and signed agreements between for the families to engage in specific services recommended by DCF. While DCF may seem to have the best intentions, it is important to remember that service agreements are legally binding contracts. If parents or guardians fail to comply with the terms, DCF can take further action. For this reason, families may wish to get legal advice about their rights and responsibilities before signing any DCF documents.
What Happens at the Conclusion of a DCF Investigation?
If DCF finds no evidence of abuse or neglect, the report is unsubstantiated. If DCF finds reasonable cause to believe that abuse or neglect did occur, they will substantiate the report and may place the alleged perpetrators on the Central Registry, which is a law enforcement agency database.
Let a Norwalk Attorney Guide You Through the DCF Investigation Process
If DCF is targeting your family, you may feel as if they are unfairly accusing you of neglect or abuse. No matter how well-meaning and helpful DCF workers may seem, their primary goal is to gather evidence of child abuse and neglect.
As a result, you always should consider seeking legal advice when DCF shows up at your door. Before signing agreements or making statements to investigators, call Mark Sherman Law to set up a consultation.