Should I Cooperate with the Department of Children and Families?

Handling Your Department of Children and Families Investigation
  • Connecticut DCF will launch an investigation if any report of abuse or neglect is lodged against you.
  • A DCF investigation can last up to 45-days and can lead to continued DCF involvement in your life.
  • Cooperating with DCF can lead to counseling requirements but failing to cooperate can lead to DCF substantiating allegations of abuse or neglect against you.
  • Click here to read what you can do if DCF has already substantiated abuse against you.
  • Contact a DCF defense attorney to decide how to best handle your DCF investigation.
How Does DCF Begin an Investigation?

DCF will begin an investigation if they receive a report of suspected abuse or neglect and find the report to be credible. Reports may come from a mandated reporter or can even be made anonymously to a DCF tip line. If DCF begins an investigation, a case worker will contact you or show up at your home to check on your children. Click here to read more about what specific incidents can lead to a report to DCF.

What Happens when DCF Receives a Report?

DCF will screen reports and determine what warrants an investigation. DCF investigations can either be a Family Assessment Response or a Full Investigation. Family Assessment Responses are the most common investigations conducted by DCF. Both investigations must conclude after 45 days.

Do I Legally Have to Speak to DCF?

When DCF calls you or shows up at your front door to investigate an allegation of abuse or neglect, you have the right to have legal representation before speaking to the department. Discussing your case with an attorney or having an attorney present at your home when DCF interviews your children, can protect you from additional DCF or court intervention.

Do I Have to Sign a Service Agreement or Safety Plan?

On your first meeting with DCF, the caseworker will try to force parents to agree to and sign a service agreement or safety plan. DCF service agreements / safety plans are legally binding contracts that give DCF the right to foist services and additional DCF involvement on a family. Sometimes these safety plans even kick a parent out of their own home and can threaten parental rights. Don’t sign or agree to anything without first consulting a DCF defense attorney who can review all contracts with you to be

What Happens if I Don’t Cooperate with DCF?

DCF often threatens court intervention if parents refuse to accept services or sign a service agreement or safety plan at the initial meeting. Parents often have the right to push back or negotiate with DCF regarding the services or arrangements DCF is requesting. In serious cases where parents refuse to comply with any of DCF’s demands, DCF may file a neglect petition against parents in juvenile court.

What Does DCF Look for during a Home Visit?

During home visits, DCF will speak to your child without you present and will tour your home and child’s bedroom. DCF will mainly speak to your child to see what your child has been exposed to, depending on the allegations made against you, and to ensure that your child feels safe and has not witnessed dangerous behavior or conditions. DCF will tour your child’s bedroom to ensure that the child has appropriate sleeping arrangements and is not at risk of physical injury.

Contact a DCF Defense Attorney Today

Navigating a DCF investigation is tricky and can lead to continued DCF involvement with your family if not handled properly from the beginning stages. Speak to a DCF defense attorney as soon as a report is made against you to discuss the best way to field DCF’s questions and demands. Call the attorneys at Mark Sherman Law today at (203) 569-3599 and click here to read certified reviews from prior satisfied clients.

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 he quickly addressed our issue with a recommended course of action. My wife and I left his office feeling much better and confident in our situation. His fee was well worth the investment and I highly recommend his services. Robert E.
★★★★★