Greenwich DCF Lawyer

If you are like many parents, you might be shocked to learn that the Department of Children and Families (“DCF”) can come to your home without warning, speak to your children without your permission, and even talk to your neighbors and employer. If you do not respond in the way the DCF thinks you should, its workers could even remove your children from your home.

Many reports of child abuse and neglect are baseless, but it can feel like DCF assumes every parent is guilty. Mark Sherman’s team of Greenwich DCF lawyers is committed to protecting local parents and guiding them through DCF investigations. Reach out immediately if DCF contacts you about your child.

How to Respond to Initial DCF Contact

According to Connecticut General Statutes § 17a-101g, DCF must investigate any credible report it receives regarding possible child abuse and neglect, even if the report is anonymous. Often one of a DCF investigator’s first steps is to visit the home without prior notice. The parent who comes to the door might understandably be shocked and confused.

One of the mistakes parents make when DCF first contacts them is to believe they can explain away a report. DCF investigators are trained to elicit information that they can twist into admissions of abuse or neglect or use to support safety concerns. What you say to DCF is not confidential, so even innocuous words can be taken out of context and used against you.

The best response when a DCF investigator shows up without an appointment is to put them off temporarily. Do not let them inside and refuse to answer questions immediately but make an appointment to have an interview–the investigator will usually insist on coming back within a day or two. Once they leave, contact a Greenwich DCF defense attorney, who can explain the next steps and offer advice about answering the investigator’s questions.

What Happens During a DCF Investigation

DCF investigations can feel demeaning and intrusive. In addition to unannounced visits to the home, investigators might go to the children’s school or extracurricular activities, and speak with teachers, doctors, neighbors, and even a parent’s employer.

The worker could gather information for several weeks. They might call the parent or visit the home several times. If they have no credible reason to believe neglect or abuse is occurring, they close the investigation after 45 days with no findings. However, DCF retains the information about the report and investigation, and it could influence the response if there is a future report.

An assertive Greenwich defense attorney can often limit the scope of a DCF investigation. They could force the investigators to reveal what they are looking for, and demand that they do not interview people who do not have direct information about the subject of the investigation. By preventing the Department from engaging in open-ended speculation and forcing them to stick to the facts, a legal professional can often spur a quicker conclusion with fewer potential consequences.

Defending a Parent When DCF Sustains a Finding

Many DCF investigations close without further action, but sometimes the investigator believes they have sufficient evidence to sustain an allegation of abuse or neglect. The next steps depend on whether the investigator believes the children are in imminent danger.

In rare cases, a DCF worker might remove children from the home early in the investigation. This situation might arise if the investigator found illegal drugs or loaded firearms in the home accessible to the children if the children have signs of being sexually or physically abused, or in similar situations. Parents whose children have been removed on an emergency basis are entitled to a hearing within a few days; it is critical to have representation from an experienced Greenwich DCF defense attorney at the hearing.

More often, DCF social workers will try to change conditions in the home over time. They will likely ask the parents to sign a safety plan, agreeing to accept specified services and make certain changes. If a DCF worker is dissatisfied with a parent’s cooperation or progress, they could take steps to remove the children from the parents’ home temporarily or even permanently.

Defend Your Family Against DCF With a Greenwich Attorney

A DCF investigation can wreak havoc on your relationships, your children’s sense of security, and your reputation in your community. You must take assertive action to avoid being a victim of DCF overreach.

Mark Sherman and his team of Greenwich DCF lawyers are skilled at managing and responding to actions against local parents. Get in touch immediately when DCF contacts you.

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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...

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