How Does a DCF Investigation Start?

When suspected child abuse or neglect are reported to DCF or police, an investigation by the Department of Children and Families will begin immediately.

Can I Find Out Who Reported Me to DCF?

Usually, no. Reports and accusations of child abuse can be made by mandated reporters who are people like teachers, doctors, or nurses and are required by law to report suspected cases of child abuse or neglect. If requested, the identity of the reporters can be treated as confidential. The legal requirement to report can make it so that these individuals err on the side of caution when it comes to making reports. Additionally, a concerned individual could make a report through DCF’s anonymous hotline.

What Do I Do When DCF Investigators Shows up at My Door?

As parents, you can be caught off guard when DCF shows up at your door, not knowing what or who spawned their visit. It is important to remember though that DCF has protocols they are required to follow, and every step of the way you have rights. Hiring any of the best Connecticut DCF lawyers attorneys can help make sure you make the most of those rights.

How Long is a Typical DCF Investigation?

Once DCF opens up a case, they will often begin working immediately, making a home visit within days. After this, DCF has 45 days to complete their investigation. During this 45-day period, DCF will be interviewing people close to the children including the children themselves, the parents, nannies, doctors, dentists, therapists, and even extended family sometimes, as well as gathering other evidence so that they can make a determination whether or not to substantiate the allegations.

A substantiation is a finding that the allegations are more likely than not true, and this is a burden of proof that DCF must meet as to every allegation. If they cannot then the allegations are dismissed.

What Happens During a Connecticut Investigation?

The Social Worker Investigator assigned to the case will take a variety of steps, depending in part on the specifics of the case at hand, to investigate claims. These steps could include calling the reporter to discuss their allegations, reviewing prior DCF documents regarding the child or his/her family, obtaining a legal history of those who care for the child, and reaching out to family and friends for interviews.

How Will I Know When the Investigation is Over?

Once DCF has completed their investigation, they will issue a report with their decisions. DCF can decide to substantiate allegations of abuse or neglect or to find them unsubstantiated. To learn more about substantiation decision, click here.

In addition, DCF can make a recommendation that the alleged abuser should be placed on the DCF central child abuse registry. To learn more about the DCF central registry, click here.

Do I Need a Lawyer during a DCF Investigation?

Oftentimes, parents are caught off guard when DCF shows up. It can be tempting to say yes to everything they ask of you so as to show compliance, but this may not be the best course of action. A knowledgeable DCF Investigation attorney can be there with you every step of the way to help advocate for your rights and protect your family. To learn more about how a lawyer can help in your situation, check out what our past DCF investigation clients have to say about working with us on Avvo.com, and call us today for a consultation.  

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