DCF Appeals

Should I Appeal a DCF Neglect or Abuse Substantiation?

If you have had allegations of abuse or neglect substantiated against you by Connecticut DCF, it is important to know that you have the right to appeal that decision. Any of the best Connecticut DCF attorneys can help you better understand the appeals process and help prepare you for the appeal so that you can protect you and your family.

What is a Connecticut DCF Abuse or Neglect Substantiation?

After receiving reports of abuse or neglect and conducting an investigation, DCF can substantiate the allegations if they find that there is reasonable cause to believe that child abuse or neglect has occurred. Reports of suspected abuse or neglect come to DCF’s attention from a DCF mandated reporter who is required by law to call DCF and report any suspected child abuse or neglect or through an anonymous hotline.

After an investigation, if allegations are substantiated, it can lead to a number of unwanted consequences, including placement on the DCF Central Registry, employment issues, a negative stigma and in some cases even a neglect petition that can result in the removal or your children.

What if DCF Substantiates Abuse or Neglect?

If DCF decides to substantiate allegations of abuse or neglect against you, it is not a final decision. You have the right to hire a top Connecticut DCF appeal lawyer attorney to appeal this decision. To do this, you must file a notice of appeal in a certain timeframe. This is why you should hire a top DCF attorney to assist you in appealing a DCF substantiation.

What is the Burden of Proof in Fighting a DCF Appeal?

Unlike the “reasonable cause” that’s needed to substantiate DCF allegations in the first place, DCF must now prove that the allegations occurred based on probable cause. To the untrained eye, these look to be the same standard, but probable cause is a slightly greater burden to bear and requires DCF to uncover more concrete evidence. This can be used to your advantage, because a DCF attorney can help you find evidence to poke holes in their allegations and show that there is no probable cause.

How Does a Connecticut DCF Appeal Work?

Your appeal will take place at a DCF Office in front of a Hearing Officer. In addition to the hearing officer, an attorney for DCF and the case worker assigned to your file will be present. Having a lawyer there on your behalf to help make sure the hearing runs smoothly, to make sure everyone is playing by the rules, and to be a friendly face at the table.

What Happens at an Appeal?

DCF will have the opportunity to admit into evidence different documents, and call witnesses to testify. You and your top DCF appeal lawyer will have the right to cross-examine those witnesses, subpoena witnesses of your own, and offer evidence to rebut DCF. At the completion of the hearing, which is typically can last hours or day, both sides have the opportunity to give closing remarks.

Why Should I Appeal?

Appealing a DCF substantiation gives you the opportunity to present your side of what happened and to have an attorney advocate on your behalf. This could lead to a reversal of DCF’s decision and clear your name. To learn more, call any of the DCF appeal lawyers at Mark Sherman Law today to set up a consultation.

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