Greenwich DCF Appeals Lawyer

It is important for anyone dealing with an investigation by the Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF) to know that the DCF “substantiating” allegations of child abuse or neglect is not the end of the road in terms of avoiding serious court action. In a situation like this, you have the right to formally appeal the DCF’s conclusion and potentially have it overturned, although you will almost certainly benefit from help from an experienced DCF defense attorney to do so effectively. Fortunately, a Greenwich DCF appeals lawyer is ready to assist you through this process and improve your chances of getting the favorable outcome you want.

How Does the DCF Appeals Process Work?

Once the DCF concludes an investigation into allegations of child abuse or neglect inside a Greenwich residence, which usually happens a maximum of 45 days after said investigation begins, they will send a Notification of Investigation Results by mail to the individual(s) under investigation. If the DCF indicates in this notice that the allegations were “substantiated,” the recipient has 30 days from when they receive the notice to mail a completed Appeal Request form back to the DCF. A copy of this form should be included alongside a Notification of Investigation Results – Substantiated Form, but a Greenwich DCF appeals attorney can help find and submit another copy if needed.

Once the DCF receives an Appeal Request form, they will first conduct their own internal investigation to ensure that their investigators acted properly and found proper evidence to indicate abuse or neglect. If this internal investigation supports the investigator’s original conclusion, and the substantiation is upheld, the appellant(s) can formally request an administrative hearing before a Hearing Officer, and their legal counsel can either assist them with that process or potentially negotiate a settlement.

If the case proceeds to a hearing, the DCF—which will be represented by their own in-house legal counsel—will have the burden of proving the substantiation is supported by a preponderance of the evidence. The appellant(s) may then present their own evidence and testimony as well as cross-examine witnesses for the DCF in order to convince the court that the allegations against them should not have been “substantiated.”

“Standard of Proof” for a DCF Appeal

One crucial element of DCF appeals in Greenwich to make note of is that the “standard of proof” for the DCF is different during an appeal hearing than it is during an investigation. In order to “substantiate” allegations through an investigation, the DCF must establish through “reasonable cause”.

During an appeal, though, the DCF must demonstrate a “preponderance of the evidence” standard for their substantiation, which is a higher standard of proof requiring a greater amount of objective evidence. That said, both of these standards are much lower than the “beyond a reasonable doubt” applicable to criminal trials, so it can still be crucial to have help from a seasoned defense lawyer in contesting the DCF’s case.

Get in Touch With a Greenwich DCF Appeals Attorney Today

While appealing the DCF’s “substantiation” of abuse or neglect allegations against you can be very helpful when it comes to protecting your best interests and those of your family members as well, your appeal will only be as useful as the legal experience and expertise at the heart of it. Put another way, trying to appeal against the DCF on your own is leaving resources on the table, resources that can help you protect you and your family the best way possible. Call today to discuss your options with a Greenwich DCF appeals lawyer.

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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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