Group Picture of The Law Offices of Mark Sherman, LLC

Fighting DCF Investigations in Darien, Connecticut (Part 1 of 4)

Fighting DCF Investigations in Darien, Connecticut
(Part 1 of 4)

It’s common for the Connecticut Department of Children and Families (generally referred to as “DCF”) to receive anonymous reports of suspected child abuse or neglect from your families’ doctors, therapists, Darien teachers, or the Darien Police Department. The best DCF lawyers in Darien Connecticut know that DCF is required by law investigate any report of suspected abuse or neglect within 12 to 72 hours, often leaving families confused and caught off guard when a Darien DCF investigator shows up at their front door. Under Connecticut law, mandated reporters such as doctors, police officers, therapists, coaches and teachers are required to file a report with DCF if they have reasonable cause to believe that a child has suffered from physical or emotional abuse or neglect. Reports tend to be made when even the slightest suspicion of abuse or neglect arises, as school employees often err on the side of caution to protect themselves from liability or criminal arrest for not reporting their suspicions to DCF. Almost every school employee qualifies as a mandated reporter, including teachers, nurses, coaches, school psychologists, and even part-time or substitute teachers.

How a Darien DCF Investigation Begins

The top Darien Connecticut DCF investigation lawyers and attorneys know that reports of suspected child abuse are taken seriously. Once a report is made to DCF—even if the report is baseless—DCF must launch an invasive and protracted investigation into your family and home life. The best Darien Connecticut DCF lawyers and attorneys know that DCF will visit and inspect your home multiple times, interview your children without your supervision, and contact your children’s physicians, therapists, caregivers and even neighbors. Parents often feel defensive and distressed by accusations of child abuse and are inclined to comply with every request made by DCF. Don’t be intimidated by DCF’s threats. You have the right to push back and deny their requests. The best Connecticut DCF investigation law firms regularly remind families that they have constitutional rights, even during a heavy-handed DCF investigation. So if you are the target of a DCF investigation in Darien Connecticut, then contact a top Darien Connecticut DCF attorney to help you get your name cleared and your case closed as quickly as possible.

How To Handle an Unexpected DCF Visit

Connecticut DCF mandated reporters are under no legal obligation to inform parents that they have made a report to DCF. That’s why the typical DCF “playbook” usually involves a DCF investigator arriving at your front door unannounced for a home visit following a report of suspected abuse or neglect of your children. Their goal is to get the most candid impression of your home life as possible, by giving you little opportunity to prepare for their visit. While you might feel strong-armed and intimidated by this tactic, any of the best Darien Connecticut DCF Investigation lawyers and attorneys will tell you that it is completely reasonable for you to refuse to let them into your home. Tell the Darien Connecticut DCF investigator that you will schedule the visit for a later date after you’ve had a chance to speak with a top Connecticut DCF investigation law firm regarding the allegations and investigation. You can simply inform the DCF officer that you will call them to reschedule the visit for later in the day or week, once you’ve spoken to an attorney.

Don’t Be Intimidated by DCF

This is when the investigator may try to convince you that you don’t need an attorney, or just want to “take a peak” inside the house. They may then even go into an abyss of what-could-happen scenarios, mentioning that DCF has the power to take you to court, take your children away into foster care, or impact your custody rights. Sure, this could happen if you’re a violent child abuser, but 99 out of 100 times, it usually doesn’t happen, so don’t be intimidated by their doomsday warnings. Maintain your composure and remember that while DCF does have these powers as a law enforcement agency, the investigation can be delayed until you consult with a top Darien Connecticut DCF lawyer attorney.

The 2 Types of Connecticut DCF Investigations – Full or “FAR” Investigations

Once a Darien Connecticut DCF investigation begins, DCF must classify the investigation track based on the severity of the allegations. It is DCF’s responsibility to begin an investigation within 2 hours if they feel there is an imminent risk of physical harm to a child, or within 3 days for all other reports. The 2 types of investigation categories are the low-risk “Family Assessment Response” (or “FAR”), or the higher-risk DCF investigation known as a “Full Investigation” (or “Full”), which can lead to court intervention, such as removing your children from your home through an Order of Temporary Custody (an “OTC”) that’s issued out of Stamford Superior Court. Keep reading to learn more about how each track is handled by DCF and how you can work with your top Connecticut DCF investigation lawyer attorney to get the DCF case dismissed.

Continue Reading…Darien Connecticut DCF Investigations, Part 2 of 4
(Appealing Your DCF Appeals, DCF Safety Plans & Service Agreements, and much more)