Stamford DCF Lawyer

The Department of Children and Families (“DCF”) is charged with protecting children from neglect and abuse. Tragically, in their zeal, workers from DCF often trample the rights of parents and subject children to traumatizing events like questioning them about their home life, removing them from their homes, and even terminating their legal relationship with their parents.

Get legal representation immediately when DCF contacts you. A knowledgeable Stamford DCF lawyer can manage your response to the investigation so it concludes without substantial consequences. If DCF has already removed your children or charged you with neglect, Mark Sherman and his team can stand up for your rights and your family.

Triggers For DCF Investigation

DCF must investigate, to some degree, any report it receives indicating a child might be the victim of abuse or neglect. Although it is important that children who are endangered be protected, the wide net the system casts often catches innocent parents, who likely don’t know where to go or what to do to get DCF out of their life.  Stamford parents can benefit from an experienced DCF attorney to guide them through the ordeal.

Anyone can make an anonymous report of suspected child abuse or neglect to the state’s tip line. In addition, Connecticut General Statutes § 17a-101(b) requires numerous professionals, including law enforcement officers, teachers and coaches, healthcare providers, and others to report any credible information indicating a child might be abused or neglected. They face legal consequences if they fail to make a report, so many mandatory reporters might make a report even when the “evidence” of abuse or neglect is slim.

Anyone with a grudge against a parent could make an anonymous report, including family members, neighbors, and co-parents involved in a custody dispute. Unexplained bruising, hygiene issues, or even a child’s complaint that their parent is “mean’ could spur a mandatory reporter to call DCF. Police inform DCF if they respond to a domestic violence report and children are present.

DCF’s Broad Powers

When investigating reports of neglect or abuse, DCF has the authority to go to a family’s home without prior notice. Workers often ask to look around the home and ask intrusive questions about the family. DCF workers can speak to a child at school or other activities without notifying the parents or asking for permission.

DCF investigators might seek information from teachers, doctors, and even neighbors who know the children or have had the opportunity to observe them. They can contact a parent’s employer, access their police record, driving record, and social services history. When a parent works with a Stamford DCF defense attorney, the legal professional can often limit the scope of the investigation protecting you from unnecessary intrusion.

Protecting children from harm is noble, but DCF’s approach can easily do more harm than good. Their threats against parents can trigger an understandably defensive response that does not further the goal of learning whether a child needs help. Contacting children at school, ball games, or other extracurricular activities can frighten them and cause anxiety and trauma.

What Happens When DCF Substantiates a Report?

Although DCF investigations are intrusive and can be demeaning, most close within 45 days with no findings of abuse or neglect. However, sometimes when the investigators believe they have evidence indicating children might not be well cared for, they substantiate a finding.

When a DCF social worker believes the children are safe in the home but there are issues that must be addressed, the worker will initiate safety planning. The plan usually involves imposing services on the family and requiring the parents to comply. Parents should not sign a DCF safety plan without first allowing a Stamford attorney to review it.

Additionally, DCF workers can remove children from the home if they believe they are in danger. The children might be gone for just a day or two or placed temporarily with a relative or foster family. The children might have to live away from home for months while parents work to meet reunification conditions. If DCF is not satisfied with the parent’s progress, it can bring a court case to seek to terminate the parents’ rights and put the children up for adoption.

Engage an Aggressive Stamford Attorney to Defend Against DCF Allegations

Most parents say they would do anything for their children. The most important thing you can do for your children when DCF contacts you is to reach out immediately to a capable attorney.

Get in touch with a Stamford DCF lawyer for help defending a DCF investigation or findings. The well-being of your family depends on you—call today.

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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