Interacting with DCF in Westport
Are you under investigation for suspected child abuse or neglect? Before interacting with DCF in Westport, consider letting an experienced attorney protect your rights and your family.
How Does DCF Receive Reports of Suspected Abuse?
DCF runs a 24/7 hotline for individuals to make reports of child abuse and neglect. Anyone can make a report if they suspect or witness abuse, but certain individuals are required to do so by law. These mandated reporters include individuals who work closely with children, such as teachers, social workers, doctors, nurses, and mental health providers. These individuals can face criminal and / or civil liability if they fail to report suspected abuse, so they tend to err on the side of caution when determining whether to make a report.
What Happens When DCF Receives a Report?
Once DCF receives a report, workers assess the risk to the child, and if warranted, assign an investigator to the family. Investigations usually begin within three days of receiving the report, but they can start sooner if DCF determines that a child may be in imminent danger.
Ultimately, DCF workers must determine whether to dismiss reports of abuse or neglect or to substantiate the reports and refer families for further services. This determination is largely based on the evidence gathered from interactions between Westport families and DCF workers.
What Should I Expect from a DCF Investigation?
The length and intensity of DCF investigations can vary, but families should expect investigators to visit them unexpectedly and request to inspect their homes. They will usually interview family members, including children, and other individuals who regularly have contact with the family, such as relatives, teachers, and babysitters. These visits and interviews are designed to help determine whether there is reasonable cause that parents or caretakers were abusive or neglectful of a child in their care.
Can I Retain an Attorney Before Speaking with DCF Investigators?
Yes. Your family has rights when it comes to DCF cases, and you should seek legal advice as soon as you realize you are the target of an investigation. Although DCF workers may try to convince families to cooperate or face adverse consequences, parents and caretakers have the right to refuse interactions with DCF in Westport until they have received legal advice.
Speak with a Westport Attorney Before Interacting with DCF
The early stages of a DCF investigation are the best time to fight the allegations against you and curtail the investigation. In many cases, families panic and fail to protect their rights or inadvertently do or say something that DCF investigators later use against them. By seeking legal advice before interacting with DCF in Westport, you may be able to stop an investigation in its tracks and avoid any harm to your family. To learn more about how an attorney could help, call Mark Sherman Law today.