Darien DCF Lawyer

An investigation from the Department of Children and Families (“DCF”) can throw a family into a tailspin. The investigations are intrusive and often embarrassing, and it can feel as though the Department is assuming you are guilty before having a grasp of the facts.

Contact Mark Sherman and his team of Darien DCF lawyers as soon as you become aware that DCF is looking into your family. A skilled legal professional can often limit the scope of an investigation and ensure the Department listens to your position with an open mind.

How DCF Investigations Start

Connecticut law prioritizes child protection. It offers an anonymous tip line that takes reports of suspected child abuse or neglect, and Connecticut General Statutes §17a-101(b) contains an extensive list of people who are required by law to make such reports. This list of “mandated reporters” includes teachers, healthcare professionals, clergy, camp counselors, and others.

If an anonymous caller or a mandatory reporter makes an allegation, DCF reviews it and launches an investigation if it seems credible. If the report indicates the child might be in imminent danger, DCF’s investigation could begin in as little as 12 hours. More often, investigations commence within 2-3 business days.

If police are called to a domestic disturbance at a home and children are present, more often than not DCF will be notified. Similarly, if police arrest someone for committing a crime while with their children, the police will notify DCF. When a Darien parent has contact with the police in the presence of their children, it is prudent to contact a local DCF defense lawyer for information on responding to an investigation.

What Happens Once an Investigation Starts

A parent’s first indication that a DCF investigation is underway might come when a social worker or investigator calls them or appears at their home. The worker will want to tour the home and speak with everyone who lives there. They will try to speak with the children outside the parents’ presence and may visit their schools to speak with them there.

DCF has access to police records, social services records, and other personal information about the parents. When possible, investigators may speak to neighbors, extended family, coaches, and others who know the family.

When a parent involves a Darien DCF defense attorney early in the process, the legal professional can often limit the scope of an investigation. After 45 days the investigation must conclude without further action unless it is determined the family requires ongoing supervision.

Substantiated Findings Lead to Various Consequences

If an investigation produces evidence that gives DCF reasonable cause to believe the children have been abused or neglected, DCF will substantiate the findings. A substantiation can lead to ongoing DCF involvement, placement on a registry, or even a neglect petition.

Even if an investigation is not yet complete, when an investigator believes children are at imminent risk of physical harm, they can order the children removed from the home on an emergency basis. The children can be placed elsewhere for up to 96 hours without a hearing.

If the investigation does not indicate the children are in imminent danger, the social worker might try to work with the family in the home. However, if DCF determines the parents are not making sufficient strides, it can remove the children and place them in foster care. Parents who are the subject of DCF supervision should engage a knowledgeable Darien defense attorney to help them navigate the process and protect their family.

Consult a Darien Attorney About DCF Contacts

DCF investigations can be terrifying. Parents often feel powerless as strangers poke into their private lives, frighten their children, and potentially damage their public reputation.

There are ways to handle a DCF investigation that can limit the destruction, but it requires skilled professional assistance. One of the Darien DCF lawyers at Mark Sherman’s office can provide you with aggressive and effective representation. Call today.

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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
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