Role of a Ridgefield DCF Attorney
Learning that the Connecticut Department of Children and Families (“DCF”) has decided to open a formal investigation into you, your home, and your life with your family can be a uniquely intimidating experience with extremely high stakes. Before trying to get through this sort of investigation by yourself, it can be helpful to understand the role of a Ridgefield DCF attorney and the benefits that qualified legal representation can provide you throughout this process.
Preparing for a DCF Investigation
Ideally, the role of a defense attorney during a Ridgefield DCF investigation should begin at the same moment the investigation itself does. Generally, DCF opens investigations in response to an arrest for an alleged domestic violence offense that may have impacted children in a defendant’s household or to a direct report of potential abuse or neglect from a mandated reporter such as a teacher, pediatrician, or social worker.
With infrequent exceptions, it is typically not worth the effort or trouble to dig up what led to a DCF investigation or who is responsible for reporting it, as this can only serve as a distraction and may even be used as evidence against the person being investigated. During this stage of the process, it is far more prudent to cooperate with investigators, answer questions honestly without providing unnecessary information, and consult with legal counsel to prepare effectively for future home visits and interviews.
Dealing with DCF Investigators and Interviews
DCF will often conduct multiple rounds of interviews during an investigation, not only with the person they are directly investigating but also with various other household or family members. Crucially, it is not only permitted but extremely advisable to have legal counsel present during these interviews, as a seasoned defense attorney can help steer the interviewer away from uncomfortable or invasive lines of questioning. Anything said during these interviews can be used against the interviewee later on, and legal representation can play a key role in minimizing any negative impact of these statements.
Appealing a Substantiation Finding
Perhaps the most vital role that a DCF attorney in Ridgefield may play comes up at the end of the investigation if it concludes with a finding that DCF’s suspicions about child abuse or neglect are “substantiated.” In this scenario, a legal representative can ensure the DCF’s findings are thoroughly reviewed for any violations of state law or assumptions not based on provable facts.
If the information gathered from this review allows, a trusted attorney can take the lead in formally appealing the substantiation. During the ensuing hearing for this appeal, legal counsel could help present evidence in the investigated person’s favor, cross-examine witnesses as well as the investigator(s) involved in the case, and tenaciously pursue a more favorable final resolution than the one DCF previously landed on.
Call To Discuss the Role of a Ridgefield DCF Attorney
Being investigated by DCF works differently from being investigated for a criminal offense. Additionally, the timeline for these investigations is typically much quicker. For those reasons, among many others, seeking assistance from capable legal counsel should be your top priority when you are already under investigation or suspect you will soon be investigated for the alleged mistreatment of your children.
Call the Law Offices of Mark Sherman today to learn more about the role of a Ridgefield DCF attorney and what one could do to help your family. Click here to learn more about our past clients’ experience working with us.