Process of a DCF Investigation in Weston
Being investigated by the Connecticut Department of Children and Families (“DCF”) can be an immensely stressful experience with extremely high stakes. However, there are ways—particularly with representation from a seasoned DCF attorney—to handle these proceedings proactively. If you are in the process of a DCF investigation in Weston, reach out to the Law Offices of Mark Sherman immediately.
What Can I Expect While a DCF Investigation Is Ongoing?
DCF generally starts its investigations based either on the prospective target’s arrest for a crime designated as “family violence” or based on a report of suspected child neglect or abuse by a third party. These accusations often come from a mandatory reporter like a doctor or teacher. Either way, the DCF will open a file for an investigation quickly afterward, and an investigator will usually make an initial home visit within 48 hours.
Depending on the accusation at hand, the DCF investigator will either conduct a Family Assessment Response or a full investigation. The former is much less serious and in-depth than the latter. It should be noted that while DCF investigators can elevate a Family Assessment Response into a full investigation at their discretion, they are not permitted to do the opposite and lower a Full Investigation into a Family Assessment Response.
The process of a DCF investigation in Weston can last a maximum of 45 days, during which the investigator will likely interview the target and their family members multiple times, as well as conduct several unannounced home visits. Everything said during this period could be admissible in court later on, and investigators are not strictly limited to looking solely for evidence of the alleged abuse or neglect which spurred the investigation in the first place.
What Are the Possible Outcomes of a DCF Investigation?
There are two ways the DCF investigation process in Weston can end: with the allegations at the heart of the investigation being “unsubstantiated” or with them being “substantiated.” These two scenarios respectively mean that either the investigation found no evidence whatsoever of abuse or neglect or that the investigation found substantial evidence showing that serious abuse or neglect is occurring. Investigations that find only some evidence of potentially mild to moderate abuse can have slightly different outcomes, which an attorney could further explain as needed.
If a DCF investigation ends with a “substantiated” finding, the DCF may recommend various corrective actions to a court that could include placement on the Department’s central child abuse registry and the loss of custody or visitation rights. However, subjects of investigations that end this way often have a right to appeal the finding and present counterarguments in court against the DCF’s conclusions.
Let a Weston Attorney Help You Through the DCF Investigation Process
Even a seemingly minor misstatement or mistake during an investigation by the DCF could have dire consequences for a parent in Connecticut. Giving yourself the best chance of getting through this experience with minimal long-term repercussions means understanding exactly how it works from start to finish. This is something qualified legal counsel from the Law Offices of Mark Sherman can provide vital assistance with.
Our skilled attorneys can review in detail how the process of a DCF investigation in Weston works during a private consultation. Schedule yours by calling today, and click here to read what our previous clients have said about working with us.