Wilton DCF Lawyer
There is no way that people from outside your family can truly understand the situation within your family. When someone on the outside views conduct that is not acceptable to them and their approach to child care, they often assume a child is being raised incorrectly or even neglected or abused. Sometimes these people will even file a report of abuse or neglect with the Connecticut Department of Children and Families, usually referred to as DCF. If you are the subject of a DCF investigation, consult a skilled domestic violence attorney. A Wilton DCF lawyer could devote the time and resources necessary to build your defense and protect your rights.
A DCF Investigation Starts Quickly
Unfortunately, when DCF investigators become involved with someone’s family, the consequences can be unpleasant, and there is even the possibility that someone could lose custody of their children. For that reason, if an individual is involved in an investigation by the DCF, it is a good idea to consult a Wilton lawyer who understands how this agency operates and investigates, and who knows the approach to take to protect a person’s family’s rights and move toward the best possible outcome.
Mandated DCF Reporters
Section 17a-101a of the Connecticut General Statutes requires certain individuals to file a report if they think a minor is at risk for harm or has suffered from neglect, abuse or a non-accidental injury. These individuals are called mandated reporters based on their position, and they face criminal penalties for failure to report, so they have the incentive to file a report even if the evidence of neglect or abuse is slim. If DCF intake workers believe there is a risk of imminent risk of physical harm to a child, then this agency must launch an investigation within 2 hours. If such risk is not present, the investigation can commence anytime up to 72 hours. The class of mandated reporters is set forth in Section 17a-101(b) to include:
- Doctors, nurses, dentists and other medical professionals
- School employees
- Psychologists and other mental health professionals
- Athletic coaches
- Social workers
- Members of the clergy
- Daycare providers
- Foster parents
An attorney in Wilton could help you prepare for a DCF investigation if a mandated reporter suspects abuse or neglect.
DCF Investigations Triggered by a Domestic Violence Arrest
Although many DCF investigations begin with reports filed by mandated reporters or members of the public, investigations also frequently arise from a domestic violence arrest for disorderly conduct or assault in the third-degree, which takes place in the presence or vicinity of children under 18.
When police arrest an individual in conjunction with a domestic or family violence arrest and minors are present or close at hand, then DCF is legally required to launch a full investigation or assessment into the children’s home life, including mandatory interviews of everyone in the person’s family, including your minor children.
What Are My Rights During a DCF Investigation?
Once a DCF investigation is opened, it must generally be concluded within 45 days. Because the investigators know they are operating on a limited timeframe, they are often quite persistent (maybe even pushy) about asking questions, acquiring information, and getting into a person’s home. They frequently arrive unannounced requesting immediate individual interviews with all members of the family.
However, families do have rights in these situations, and many people are not aware that they can request to have a lawyer present during questioning to help protect their rights, prevent costly mistakes and keep questions from becoming too intrusive.
If the outcome of an investigation should prove unfavorable, the result can be appealed and evidence can be presented at an appeal hearing to refute the DCF findings and any other allegations. A Wilton lawyer could protect your rights during a DCF investigation.
How a Wilton DCF Attorney Can Help You
Working with an experienced Wilton DCF lawyer can provide advantages at many stages of the proceedings.
Your attorney will review the facts of your case and advise you of your family’s rights. Your lawyer can also provide guidance regarding how to answer questions and provide information in a manner that makes sense. A top lawyer could stand by your side during all of the interviews and help collect evidence and serve as an advocate during any appeals.