What Happens at a Connecticut DCF Substantiation Appeal Hearing?

If you have had allegations of abuse or neglect substantiated against you, it is important to know that you have the right to appeal that decision. A Fairfield County Connecticut DCF appeal attorney can help you better understand the appeals process and help prepare you for the appeal so that you can protect you and your family.

What is an Abuse or Neglect Substantiation?

After an investigation, DCF will substantiate any allegations that they have reasonable cause to believe occurred. The burden of proof is REASONABLE CAUSE. As the best DCF appeal lawyers in Connecticut will tell you, this is a low and ambiguous standard, far lower than the criminal standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

What are the Consequences For Me When DCF Substantiates Abuse or Neglect Against Me?

If allegations are substantiated against you, it can lead to a number of unwanted consequences, including placement on the DCF Central Registry, employment issues, a negative stigma and in some cases even a neglect petition. Hiring a top DCF appeal lawyer attorney can be a wise first step in mitigating these collateral consequences.

What Can I Do if Allegations are Substantiated Against Me?

If DCF substantiates allegations of abuse or neglect against you, it is not a final decision. You have the right to appeal their decision. To do this, you must file a notice of appeal within 30 days. For this and other reasons, it is wise to hire an attorney to assist you in appealing a DCF substantiation, things can move fast in an appeal and a lawyer can help make sure you keep up. Follow this link to learn more about DCF appeals.

What’s the Burden of Proof in an Appeal?

Unlike the “reasonable cause” that’s needed to substantiate allegations in the first place, DCF must now prove that the allegations occurred based on probable cause. This is still a pretty low standard, but it can be used to your advantage, because a DCF attorney can help you find evidence to poke holes in their allegations and show that there is no probable cause. A Connecticut DCF appeal lawyer can gather evidence to negate allegations and work to have the allegations dismissed.

Who Will be at a DCF Appeal Hearing?

Your appeal will take place at a DCF Office in front of a Hearing Officer. While a Hearing Officer is an impartial third party, it’s important to know that they do work for DCF. In addition to the hearing officer, an attorney for DCF and the case worker assigned to your file will be present. Having a lawyer there on your behalf to help make sure the hearing runs smoothly, to make sure everyone is playing by the rules, and to be a friendly face at the table.

What Happens at the Appeal Hearing?

DCF will have the opportunity to admit into evidence different documents, and call witnesses to testify. You will have the right to cross-examine those witnesses, call witnesses of your own, and enter evidence to rebut DCF. At the completion of the hearing, which is typically 4 hours, both sides have the opportunity to give closing remarks.

Hiring a DCF Appeal Attorney in Fairfield County Connecticut

Appealing a DCF substantiation gives you the opportunity to present your side of what happened and to have an attorney advocate on your behalf. This could lead to a reversal of DCF’s decision and clear your name. Take a look at our 5 star certified client reviews and then call Mark Sherman Law today at (203) 569-3599 to set up a consultation.

Client Reviews
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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 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.
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