Rowayton DCF Appeals

Once the Department of Children and Families (“DCF”) opens an investigation into someone for alleged child abuse or neglect, the DCF generally has 45 days to complete that investigation and determine whether the allegations against the person being investigated are “substantiated” by available evidence. As many people learn the hard way, though, DCF investigators often “substantiate” allegations of this nature based on circumstantial evidence or even outright hearsay.

Fortunately, you have a right to appeal any unfavorable finding made by the DCF against you with help from an experienced DCF defense lawyer. From start to finish of the Rowayton DCF appeals process, your dedicated legal counsel will make sure your rights are respected and help you pursue the best-case resolution possible while staying within the boundaries of Connecticut state law.

When Is It Possible to Appeal a DCF Decision?

In Connecticut, the DCF has significant authority to investigate any reasonable suspicion that a child is being put in harm’s way at home, whether that suspicion stems from their parent or guardian being arrested for a “family violence” crime or from a report made by a concerned third party. Either way, it is not possible to appeal against a DCF investigation beginning in the first place, although guidance from legal counsel can still be key to handling such an investigation in the most proactive way possible.

What you can appeal, though, is any “substantiation” made by DCF investigators of allegations that you abused or neglected your children, as well as recommendations made by the DCF that you are likely to cause further harm to your children in the future and/or that you should be put in the DCF’s publicly viewable Central Registry. If necessary, a Rowayton attorney can also help appeal against an Order of Temporary Custody, a neglect petition, or a Termination of Parental Rights petition pursued by the DCF.

Preparing for a DCF Appeals Hearing

From the moment you receive a Notification of Investigation Results from the DCF indicating that the allegations against you have been substantiated, you have 30 days to fill out and submit your appeal request form (2210b), which the DCF should provide to you along with their notification about the results of their investigation. This will spur the DCF to conduct an internal review of their investigation, and if that internal review concludes with the DCF reaffirming its initial decision, you—ideally with help from dependable legal counsel—can request a formal hearing to continue your Rowayton DCF appeal.

At this hearing, the DCF has the burden of proving that they had “reasonable cause” for their substantiation ruling based on the evidence and testimony they collected, while you as the appellant can cross-examine the lead DCF investigator for your case as well as specific evidence and witnesses presented by the Department. You may also be available to compel various witnesses to testify in person at the hearing in order to either support your own side of the story or contest specific aspects of the DCF’s case against you.

Get Help From a Rowayton Attorney With the DCF Appeals Process

There is no way to guarantee that an appeal filed against a DCF ruling will have a positive final result for you, and not every such appeal will result in a court ruling in your favor. That said, your right to appeal this kind of finding can still be vital to enforce if you want to protect both your personal freedom and public reputation.

You have help available with your Rowayton DCF appeal from qualified legal professionals with a track record of getting successful results from cases much like yours in the past. Call Mark Sherman Law today to discuss your options, or click here to read more than 300 certified reviews from satisfied past clients.

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