UConn DCF Lawyer
Whether you believe you may soon be investigated by the Connecticut Department of Children and Families agency or an investigation has already begun, contacting a knowledgeable defense attorney should be your top priority. A dedicated UConn DCF lawyer can work diligently on your behalf to protect your rights, ensure that the agency does not overstep their legal authority, and pursue the best possible resolution to your situation.
How Do Department of Children and Families Investigations Begin?
DCF is responsible for looking into reports of child abuse and/or neglect and taking appropriate action to protect underage Connecticut residents from further harm. As the state’s prime means of investigating and stopping mistreatment of children, DCF has substantial authority to look into your home life and recommend life-altering court action if they decide that your actions pose any danger to your children.
DCF generally begins investigations into Connecticut residents based on one of two scenarios: a domestic violence arrest, or a report filed by a mandated reporter or anyone else concerned about a child’s wellbeing. Even if a person arrested for committing a crime classified as domestic violence is not convicted in court, they could still be subject to a DCF investigation. Likewise, a third-party report that DCF considers to be credible may result in an investigation even without any related criminal allegations or convictions.
It is worth noting that in less severe situations, DCF may elect to initiate a Family Assessment Response (FAR) rather than a formal investigation, which may be escalated to a full investigation if the agency finds cause to do so but otherwise would not result in any long-term consequences for the investigated individual(s). Either way, the Department has up to 45 days after receiving an initial referral to make in-home visits, interview both the target(s) of the investigation and the child(ren) potentially subject to harm, and issue a final report.
What Happens After a DCF Investigation?
If a full DCF investigation results in a “substantiated” finding, the Department may recommend further action by a court to restrict the custody and/or visitation rights of the caretaker(s) they investigated, and in extreme cases may even immediately remove the child(ren) from their home. Our UConn DCF attorneys can go into further detail about the steps and possible outcomes of this process during a private consultation.
How Could Legal Counsel Help?
While a DCF investigation is ongoing, a qualified attorney could serve as a parent or guardian’s advocate during all interactions with DCF officials, helping them answer questions and to avoid making inadvertently incriminating statements while also enforcing the parent’s or guardian’s rights under state law. Even if there is no evidence of mistreatment for DCF to find, having support from legal counsel can still be crucial to resolving their investigation as quickly and smoothly as possible.
In the event DCF substantiates a report of abuse or neglect against you, a seasoned UConn lawyer could help you formally appeal that finding in court. This appellate process would allow you to present evidence and testimony in your own defense before a judge, who—based on the information presented to them—has the authority to support or overturn DCF’s conclusion.
Speak with a UConn DCF Attorney Today
Finding out you are in the crosshairs of the Department of Children and Families can be a uniquely unnerving experience, regardless of what circumstances led to DCF investigating your family. Fortunately, help is available from dedicated legal professionals who know how to handle sensitive situations like yours and work to ensure they have ultimately positive outcomes.
A UConn DCF lawyer’s assistance could be crucial to protecting your future with your family. Call Mark Sherman Law today to learn more, and click here to read our over 300 certified client reviews on Avvo.com.