Wilton DCF Investigations
Risk of injury arrests are heavily prosecuted, and heavily investigated as well. Investigators from the Department of Children and Families (DCF) are required to conduct a 45-day investigation of the person whenever there is an arrest of risk of injury. They will be contacted immediately by the police. If you are the subject of a Wilton DCF investigation or, you want to know more about this process, speak to a skilled DCF lawyer that can answer your questions.
Who Usually Reports Risk of Injury?
Police officers are usually the ones who make their report and are required by law to report the arrest to DCF. There are also mandated reporters that might report the risk of injury to law enforcement. Connecticut General Statutes §17a-101 outlines the list of people who are mandated reporters in Connecticut which includes healthcare professionals and educators. In risk of injury cases, the most common mandated reporters are the arresting officers, teachers, doctors, and nurses as well.
DCF Actions Following Arrest
Following a risk of injury arrest, the police officers who arrested the person are required by law to report the arrest to DCF. The DCF will open an investigation that will take at least 45 days. The DCF is obligated to open an investigation within 24 hours of receiving the report from the police in Wilton. Within a few days they will usually show up at the person’s front door and will conduct interviews with the person, the family, and anyone else that was involved. Then they will make their final decision if they would substantiate the allegation.
Cooperation with the Department of Children and Families (DCF) can be ordered by the court as a condition of release, but a person does have the right to an attorney and they can tell the DCF investigator that they not want to go forward with anything until their attorney is present.
Evidence the DCF Collects During an Investigation
The kind of evidence that the DCF might collect during investigations in Wilton depends on the circumstances surrounding the charges, but typically they will collect information on the family dynamic, the safety of the household, and things like that.
The DCF has the burden of proof to establish that abuse or neglect occurred by a fair preponderance of the evidence. It is a pretty low threshold for them. They just need to establish that some type of abuse or neglect occurred and then they can substantiate the allegation.
DCF Family Assessment Response System
The DCF Family Assessment Response System is for low-risk cases. The DCF interviews the family and provides recommendations for the family on ways that they think they can adjust certain routines or make certain routines better for the child. They will schedule a few interviews periodically with the family and must close the investigation within 90 days.
Guardian ad Litem in Wilton Risk of Injury Cases
A Guardian ad Litem is a neutral party that is assigned by the court during Wilton DCF investigations. Typically, either the prosecutor or the defense attorney will request that the court assign one. The court will usually comply and assign a Guardian ad Litem to represent the child’s interests in court.
The GAL will meet with the child in order to assess their safety and fairly represent the child’s position to the judge. This is beneficial because a GAL is a totally, non-biased party who has not met either of the parties. A GAL is someone that the court assigns. The only interest that they have is the best interests of the child.
What is a DCF Service Agreement?
The first time that DCF comes to the person’s home, in Wilton the investigator will usually ask them to sign what they call the DCF Service Agreement, or a DCF Safety Plan. This is a contract between the person and DCF which will assist the person and the family in receiving important services and resources from DCF.
These agreements are quite lengthy and often confusing to people. A person will often end up conceding or forfeiting a lot of their legal rights to DCF due to misunderstanding what the contract said. Once the person signs it, there is really nothing they can do. If a person fails to comply with any of the conditions of the service agreement that DCF laid out, then DCF can actually take the person to court.
Role of a Wilton Lawyer During DCF Investigations
A defense attorney in these types of cases would work with the court and the prosecutor to try and get the best overall disposition for you. Outside of court, they could work with the DCF again, to get them to potentially prepare a Family Assessment Response Report if they open a file. If the DCF does open a file, then obviously the goal would be to work with DCF so they do not substantiate the allegation. A qualified lawyer will have dealt with Wilton DCF investigations before, and could do what is necessary to achieve the best possible outcome for you.