Stamford DCF Investigations
If you are contacted by Connecticut’s Department of Children and Families – better known in Stamford as “DCF” – then it’s important to contact a DCF lawyer sooner than later, to make sure that all of your rights are protected.
How does a DCF Investigation start in Stamford, Connecticut?
DCF is the state agency that investigates allegations of child abuse and neglect. Anyone can file a complaint of suspected abuse or neglect through the DCF hotline. For example, neighbors may file a complaint if they see children outside and believe them to be unsupervised.
What is a Mandated Reporter in Connecticut?
Some people who work with children, such as teachers and doctors, are known as “mandated reporters.” They are required by law to file a report with DCF if they have reasonable cause to suspect abuse or neglect of a minor. Because mandated reporters may be charged with a serious misdemeanor or felony offense if they fail to report an incident, many choose to err on the side of caution. The law provides immunity for those reporting suspected child abuse or neglect, so they have nothing to lose and everything to gain by making a report.
How Long Does DCF have to Start its Investigation in Connecticut?
Stamford DCF investigations must begin within 72 hours of a report from a mandated reporter, and DCF will try to begin within two hours if the report indicates that a child is in imminent risk of harm. If the report involves serious physical abuse or sexual abuse, DCF will also notify police.
Can DCF Interview my Children?
DCF investigators generally must seek consent from a parent or guardian before interviewing a child. However, the law provides exceptions to this requirement.
If the process of obtaining consent would put the child in danger of imminent physical harm, or if the guardian or parent is alleged to be the perpetrator of the abuse, then investigators need not obtain consent before interviewing the child. These and other rules regarding Stamford DCF investigations are set forth in Connecticut General Statutes (C.G.S.) §17a-101h.
When Can DCF Remove a Child from the Home?
If the agency believes that immediate removal of the child is necessary to prevent physical harm, an agency employee or law enforcement officer may remove the child without the consent of parents or caregivers. This removal may last for up to 96 hours.
A child who has been removed may be tested and examined for signs of physical abuse. If DCF does not return the child within 96 hours, the agency must obtain a court order to have the child placed in another location, such as a foster home. Stamford DCF investigations usually continue regardless of whether the child remains outside the home or is returned to parents.
When Does a Stamford DCF Investigation End?
Laws require Stamford DCF investigations to conclude within 45 days of receiving a report of abuse. This investigation must include a home visit, an evaluation of the home and parents, and a review of previous abuse allegations.
At the conclusion, DCF will issue a finding as to whether it believes the child suffered abuse or neglect, whether an identifiable person may be held responsible, whether that person poses a risk to the child’s health, and whether the agency believes that person should be placed on the child abuse and neglect registry.
Details of the DCF investigation process in Stamford will vary depending on circumstances.
Reach Out to a Stamford Attorney for Help with Your DCF Investigation
Statements made to DCF investigators can have a serious impact on your families future. If you are under DCF investigation in Stamford, consider retaining an experienced domestic violence attorney. A lawyer could assert your rights and fight for the best interests of your family at every step. Call Mark Sherman Law today to set up a consultation.