Process for Appealing a DCF Decision in Connecticut

Any of the best Connecticut DCF investigation lawyers and attorneys can assist you and your family with appealing a DCF decision against your as well as your placement on the DCF Central Registry.

What Do I Do if DCF Substantiates Abuse or Neglect Against Me?

When DCF substantiates the allegations, they typically recommend a specific level of services for the family, up to and including separation of children from their parents. However, families have the right to challenge the findings and recommendations. By appealing DCF substantiation findings, Connecticut families may be able to have them overturned.

Can I Present Evidence & Witnesses in a DCF Appeal Hearing?

Yes. During the appeals process, DCF attorneys may be able to introduce evidence into your hearing to counter the substantiated findings of abuse or neglect. They can also cross-examine witnesses for DCF to shed doubt on their testimony and conclusions. In this manner, families may be able to overcome the allegations against them. Follow this link for more details on how to win the DCF appeal process.

How Do I Appeal Substantiation Findings?

After a substantiation determination, individuals have 30 days to assert their right to request an internal review. This is the first step of the appeals process and during this review DCF will decide whether or not to maintain the substantiation. Only after an internal review can an appeal hearing be requested. and individuals have no right to a hearing until the internal review is complete.

DCF Appeal Administrative Hearing Process

If DCF decides to uphold the substantiation, there is another 30-day window within which the parents or guardians can request an administrative hearing. These hearings normally happen at DCF field offices. DCF will have an attorney there to represent them, and an impartial hearing officer will be there as well. While these hearing officers are impartial, it’s important to understand that they work for DCF too. Therefore, having an attorney in your corner could be of great help.

How Does a DCF Investigation Begin?

Anyone can initiate a DCF investigation by making an anonymous complaint to the 24/7 DCF hotline. However, the most common complainants are police officers and mandated reporters, including teachers, social workers, athletic coaches, and mental health professionals. These individuals are subject to criminal penalties if they fail to report their suspicions of abuse or neglect.

What Happens When DCF Completes an Investigation?

After DCF workers complete their investigations, they must decide whether to substantiate or dismiss the claims. A substantiation is a determination upon reasonable belief that abuse or neglect occurred. It is a low standard, much lower than the criminal standard of beyond a reasonable doubt. A Connecticut DCF appeal lawyer can help gather evidence to refute allegations and show DCF why they should not substantiate.

Hire a Connecticut DCF Attorney to Help You Appeal DCF Substantiation Findings

A lawyer can help you understand the process for appealing a DCF decision in Connecticut. Having a strong legal advocate in your corner could make all the difference in the outcome of your DCF substantiation case. Check out our certified reviews and call Mark Sherman Law today for a consultation.

Client Reviews


I found Mark Sherman after doing an extensive search for DCF attorneys on the internet. He is without a doubt the most honest and straightforward attorney I have ever met. Rather than trying to push us towards an expensive engagement...

- Robert E
Submit a Law Firm Client Review