Norwalk DCF Lawyer

Contact from the Connecticut Department of Children and Families (“DCF”) is never good news. DCF workers have broad powers to disrupt your family life on unconfirmed reports and suspicions. Protecting your family from unwarranted interference requires a skilled response.

Mark Sherman and his dedicated team have helping families like yours in DCF actions for years. If DCF has come knocking at your door, contact a Norwalk DCF lawyer from our firm to get a strong advocate in your corner.

How DCF Operates

DCF is tasked with responding to allegations of child abuse and neglect. Definitions of abuse and neglect appear in Connecticut General Statutes § 46b-120. Healthcare providers, teachers, law enforcement personnel, clergy, and some others are mandatory reporters in Connecticut. This means that under penalty of criminal and civil penalty they must report all suspected child abuse or neglect to DCF. DCF also has an anonymous hotline where people can make reports if they suspect a child is not receiving appropriate care.

DCF workers must, to some degree, investigate every report they receive. On rare occasion a case will not be accepted, but more often than not it is. They often begin by making an unannounced visit to the child’s home. They may ask to view the home and will likely ask intrusive questions about the family. DCF workers often appear at a child’s school to interview them without prior notice to the child’s family.

Unlike a criminal investigation and prosecution, the constitutional right of innocent until proven guilty does not apply to DCF investigations and often it can feel like they’ve already made a conclusion and are now just looking for evidence to support it. They can interview family members, neighbors, teachers, and access police records to find information that supports an abuse allegation. It is imperative for parents to reach out to a Norwalk DCF defense attorney immediately if DCF has made contact.

What Happens If DCF Believes There Is a Problem

When DCF believes it has identified an issue, it might create a safety plan. Typically, the plan involves an “offer” of services. These services often involve counseling for the children, parental skills training, anger management classes, substance abuse intervention, and similar programs.

This safety plan, if signed, is a legally binding contract. If the parents refuse the services or accept them but do not complete the prescribed program, DCF will deem them non-compliant. For this or almost any other reason, the DCF could file a neglect petition against the parents. At this point, parents are put into the position of having to prove they are responsible caregivers who provide a safe home.

When DCF believes the children might be at risk, they can remove them and place them with a relative or put them in foster care. In some cases, they can recommend a parent’s rights be terminated and put the children up for adoption. With such extreme potential consequences, Norwalk parents must work with an aggressive and knowledgeable attorney.

How an Attorney Can Make a Difference

DCF operates outside of normal rules. Society places a high value on protecting children, so DCF workers are encouraged to err on the side of caution. Incredibly, that often means DCF workers operate with the mindset that parents are incapable of caring for their children properly.

Getting legal representation as soon as DCF makes contact is a wise and prudent decision. DCF workers are trained to elicit information from parents and others that they can cast as admissions of poor parenting. A parent has the right to ask a DCF worker to come back another time, and as soon as the worker leaves, the parent should call a lawyer.

A legal representative can call the DCF worker or their supervisor to find out why they are investigating. They can then advise parents about how to respond to questioning and help them establish boundaries for their cooperation. An attorney’s involvement limits Norwalk DCF overreach and increases the chances the investigation wraps up quickly and with minimal consequences.

Consult a Norwalk Attorney Immediately When You Hear From DCF

If DCF has you on its radar, you must act immediately. Shutting down an investigation as early as possible is the best way to protect yourself and your family.

Reach out to Mark Sherman and his team of Norwalk DCF lawyers right away. They provide aggressive, judgment-free representation of parents targeted by DCF. Call now.

Client Reviews


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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