Defending Against a DCF Investigation in Wilton

The Department of Children and Families (DCF) has fairly broad authority to investigate anyone they suspect of potentially abusing, neglecting, or otherwise harming a minor in their household or care, as well as the authority to recommend that a family court take remedial action against anyone whom such allegations are “substantiated.” This means that defending against a DCF investigation in Wilton often has very high stakes, and is not something you want to try doing without a qualified and experienced DCF defense lawyer on your side.

Understanding the Process of a DCF Investigation

The DCF can open an investigation into someone in Wilton based on an arrest regardless of whether it leads to a conviction, for family violence, or based on a report of suspected child abuse or neglect made by a third party. Depending on the severity of the allegations made against the investigated party, the DCF may undertake a comparatively low-stakes “Family Assessment Response” (FAR) investigation or a more serious “Full” investigation.

At any point during the 45-day investigation period or at its conclusion, the Department can elevate a FAR investigation to a Full investigation if they find grounds to do so, but they cannot deescalate a Full investigation down to a FAR investigation. Either way, the Department has 45 days from when they initially begin their investigation to declare their suspicions of abuse or neglect as “substantiated or unsubstantiated” in a formal report.

What Rights Does Someone Under DCF Investigation Have?

During a DCF investigation in Wilton, DCF investigators may conduct unannounced home visits, multiple rounds of interviews with each family and household member, and may ask adults to sign release forms allowing investigators to speak with a child’s teachers and healthcare providers. Importantly, though, anyone under investigation by DCF for any reason and faced with any of these actions by an investigator has the right to refuse to speak with the investigator, refuse to sign a release, and the right to refuse to allow investigators into their home without a warrant.

With all that being said, it is worth emphasizing that it is not always a bad thing to speak with DCF investigators or to allow them to speak with children inside the household. In any event it is generally beneficial to be as calm and cooperative as possible when interacting with DCF authorities. At the same time, any poorly phrased statement or answer to a leading question provided to an investigator could be used by the DCF as evidence of abuse or neglect, so it is advisable to have legal counsel present as much as possible during interviews and to speak with an attorney before agreeing to any release or any parenting plan suggested by Department authorities.

Get Help From a Wilton Attorney With Defending Against a DCF Investigation

Being investigated by the Connecticut Department of Children and Families certainly does not guarantee that your family will be split up or that you will face some other life-altering consequences from the Department’s investigation. That said, effectively defending against a DCF investigation in Wilton can still be key to ensuring that this uncomfortable experience has the best possible resolution for you and your family members. Call today to learn how a DCF defense lawyer can assist you.

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
Submit a Law Firm Client Review