Wilton DCF Lawyer

Whether it stems from a criminal allegation of family violence or a report filed by a third party, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) opening an investigation into you and your home life is an extremely serious matter. Even if you are not convicted of any criminal wrongdoing, DCF can still take action against you based on a finding that you have abused or neglected—or pose a serious risk of doing either in the future—your children.

Just like in criminal proceedings, you have the right to retain legal counsel and proactively protect your rights while under investigation by DCF. No matter what led to you being in this situation or what repercussions your investigation may have for you, a knowledgeable Wilton DCF lawyer could work tirelessly through the entire process to preserve your best interests and achieve a favorable outcome on your behalf.

What Authority Does DCF Have?

It is worth emphasizing that DCF in Connecticut is not a law enforcement agency and can neither arrest nor prosecute anyone for allegedly violating the Connecticut Penal Code. Instead, their main purpose is to protect the physical and mental well-being of children in the state, which means that they will take the lead in investigating any credible allegations that minors living in a Wilton residence have been mistreated in the past or maybe mistreated in the future by acts which threaten their physical, psychological, or moral health.

Depending on how serious the situation seems to be at first, DCF can conduct a “Family Assessment Response” investigation or a more severe “Full” investigation, the former of which can be escalated into the latter—but not the other way around—if necessary. After completing their investigation, DCF will then make a determination as to whether their suspicions of child abuse and/or neglect are “substantiated” or not.

A “substantiated” outcome can result in the DCF recommending a family court take further action against the defendant, potentially including placement in the DCF’s Central Registry, loss of custody or visitation rights, and—in extreme cases—removal of the children from the home.

Handling DCF Investigations in Proactive Ways

Although it is very understandable to be unsettled by a DCF investigation, it is also important to be as calm as possible while one is ongoing, since anything said or done during the investigation could be used as evidence to support a “substantiation” of abuse or neglect. People under DCF investigation should do their best to be honest and cooperative with investigators, but at the same time, they should enforce their right to have legal representation during interviews, and they should be careful about signing releases allowing DCF authorities to speak with their children alone.

It is worth emphasizing as well that a “substantiation” of DCF’s suspicions of mistreatment is not necessarily the end of the road. In many situations, it is possible to effectively appeal against such a finding with help from a DCF lawyer in Wilton.

Contact a Wilton DCF Attorney for Assistance

While the DCF has a lot of authority in Connecticut, that authority is not without its limits, and you still have important rights during investigations undertaken by this Department. That said, effectively enforcing those rights may be more difficult than you would think without support from seasoned legal counsel.

A Wilton DCF lawyer who has handled situations like yours effectively in the past is a vital ally to have by your side throughout your investigation. Call today to learn more.

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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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