Ridgefield DCF Lawyer

Learning you are under investigation by the Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF) for suspected abuse or neglect of children in your care can be both aggravating and frightening in equal measure. Regardless of what you think about your home life, the conclusions reached about it by a DCF investigator could have very serious repercussions for you and your entire family, especially if that conclusion is that you pose a threat of physically, psychologically, or morally harming your kids.

Because this process functions separately and, in many ways, differently from criminal prosecution or even standard family court proceedings, you should strongly consider seeking representation from a Ridgefield DCF lawyer as early as possible after you learn of an investigation. You still have rights in situations like this, but without a seasoned attorney on your side, you may have serious trouble effectively enforcing them, let alone achieving a favorable outcome to this situation.

When Will DCF Investigate a Connecticut Resident?

As a qualified attorney can further explain, DCF will generally only open an investigation into someone in Ridgefield if one of two things happens. First, they will generally investigate anyone arrested on suspicion of committing a “family violence” offense if the defendant lives in a residence alongside minor children, even if the offense had nothing to do with those children. Second, the DCF may take action based on a report from a “mandatory reporter” or anyone else reasonably concerned that a minor child is experiencing abuse or neglect at home.

It is worth noting that in either scenario, there is no requirement for the person under investigation to be convicted of any criminal wrongdoing for the DCF to investigate and potentially recommend family court sanctions against them. In fact, even if the domestic violence arrest preceding a DCF investigation is resolved with a nolle prosequi or a dismissal, the DCF can still continue with their investigation and recommend sanctions based on any evidence of child abuse or neglect they find.

Possible Outcomes of a DCF Investigation

If a DCF investigation in Ridgefield does not establish through reasonable cause that a child is being neglected or abused, the Department will typically declare that the allegations underpinning the investigation were “unsubstantiated.” This usually will be followed by the Department closing the case, although DCF authorities can keep it open if providing additional resources and support would help address small problems or concerns. This is called “ongoing services”.

Alternatively, a finding that the allegations are “substantiated” and there is evidence of neglect or abuse allows the DCF to recommend further action and potentially require subjects of the investigation to undergo behavioral management treatment and/or comply with a plan to mitigate underlying issues. If there is an extreme risk of a child sustaining serious harm or a lack of cooperation with less strict measures, the DCF can petition a Juvenile Court for a change in custody rights or even the removal of the affected child(ren) from the home.

Consider Working With a Ridgefield DCF Attorney

As unnerving as it can be to have investigators from DCF visiting your home and speaking to your family members, it is vital to stay as calm and proactive as possible during this process. What you say and do now could have a huge impact not just on your personal rights, but also on your relationship with your children for years to come.

Assistance is available from an experienced Ridgefield DCF lawyer with the knowledge you may need to handle your unique situation effectively. Call today for a private consultation.

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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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