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Fighting DCF Investigations in Greenwich, Connecticut (Part 1 of 3)

Fighting DCF Investigations in Greenwich, Connecticut
(Part 1 of 3)

An investigation of abuse or neglect by the Greenwich Connecticut Department of Children and Families (more commonly known as “DCF”) usually begins with a surprise knock on your front door, letter in your mailbox, or an unexpected phone call. Depending on the severity of the accusations against you and your family, DCF is required by law to respond within 12 or 72 hours. As the best Greenwich Connecticut DCF investigation lawyers and attorneys understand, a DCF investigation in Greenwich Connecticut is triggered by a “referral”—usually by a mandated DCF reporter in Connecticut such as a police officer, teacher, coach, therapist or psychiatrist, who is required by law if they receive a report of child abuse or neglect, or suspect that abuse or neglect has taken place concerning a child under 18, or a student who is in high school or younger. DCF mandated reporter laws apply to public and private high schools, hospitals, day care centers, nursery schools, youth groups, and sports teams.

Top Greenwich Connecticut DCF lawyers and attorneys know that once a report is called into the DCF hotline, it is assigned to a DCF investigation social worker in the Norwalk Connecticut DCF office who will launch an invasive and uncomfortable investigation into your family. They will want to inspect your home, interview your children without you present, and will often want to try and contact your kids’ schools, health care providers, therapists and sometimes your neighbors. So if you are the target of a Greenwich Connecticut DCF investigation, then you should contact any of the top Greenwich Connecticut DCF law firms who can assist you and your family through the lengthy DCF investigation process, with the sole goal of getting DCF out of your life as quickly and possible.

What Do I Do When Connecticut DCF Comes to My House?

Ask any top Greenwich Connecticut DCF Investigation criminal lawyer attorney: DCF investigators typically show up unannounced at your front door without giving you any notice. They will tell you this is because of the very short investigation response times required by law. Not quite. Here’s the truth: DCF believes that they will get the most genuine (as opposed to contrived or forged) impression of your family if they catch you by surprise. Don’t be afraid or intimidated to refused to let them into their home and ask them to come back later in the day, or later in the week, after you’ve had a chance to speak with a top Connecticut DCF lawyer attorney! Even though these DCF workers may seem nice and are not dressed in uniform, appreciate that DCF workers are law enforcement officers. They can’t arrest you, but DCF has the power to share info with the police, go to court and try to impact your parental rights. So be polite, gracious and ask them for their business card. Let them know you will contact them later that day to schedule an appointment after you have a chance to talk to your top Connecticut DCF lawyer. They may say that if you don’t speak with them immediately, they MAY or CAN go to court for a neglect or removal petition. Don’t be intimidated by their threats. Their interviews and assessment can usually wait a few hours, or a few days, depending on the seriousness of their case.

What is a Greenwich Connecticut DCF Investigation?

The best Greenwich Connecticut DCF lawyers and attorneys understand that there are 2 kinds of Greenwich Connecticut DCF investigations, depending on the severity or complexity of the case. The lower-risk Connecticut DCF investigation is called a Family Assessment Response (a “FAR”). The higher risk Connecticut DCF investigative track is called a “Full Investigation,” which in the most serious cases, is accompanied by a Connecticut Superior Court DCF Neglect Petition or Order of Temporary Removal (an “OTR”) of your children from your home.

A DCF Family Assessment Response (“FAR”) Investigation in Greenwich Connecticut

Top Greenwich Connecticut DCF attorneys and lawyers appreciate that a Family Assessment Response (or “FAR”) is a 45-day risk assessment by a Connecticut DCF investigator. It is the most desirable DCF investigation as it is the easiest to navigate; however, it can quickly escalate into more problems if not properly handled by you or your top Greenwich Connecticut DCF investigation lawyer attorney. It is a low-risk inquiry that mirrors the procedures and protocols of a “Full Investigation” but does not conclude with any findings, substantiations, or unsubstantiations of the abuse or neglect accusations. The most critical component of a DCF FAR investigation in Greenwich Connecticut is that DCF can elevate the FAR case—at their sole discretion—to a Full Investigation, if any issues or concerns arise during the 45 day investigation, you fail a drug or alcohol test, or you or your kids share information that throw up red flags to the DCF investigator, or appear somehow uncooperative.

A “Full” DCF Investigation in Greenwich Connecticut

The more serious Connecticut DCF investigative track is the “Full Investigation” which requires the investigating DCF social worker to issue a finding at the end of the 45 days, which either substantiates or unsubstantiates the findings. It’s essentially a guilty or not guilty finding, but you don’t get the right to present evidence or witness testimony to DCF, and you’re not privy to the information, reports or witness statements that DCF gathers during the investigation. Sound unfair? That’s because it is; however, DCF did not write these laws—they are following the regulations and procedures mandated by Connecticut lawmakers, so don’t hold it against them. At the conclusion of a Greenwich Connecticut “Full Investigation,” DCF closes your case, and issues its ruling by mail. Even more critically, in its closure letter, DCF may check two boxes on your DCF findings: first, whether you pose a continued threat to the health, safety and welfare of your children, and second, whether DCF is publishing your finding of abuse or neglect in its publicly available “Central Registry.” DCF will also notify you if they are ordering continuing services for your home, which, if rejected, could force DCF to start a court case against you.

Continue Reading…Greenwich Connecticut DCF Investigations, Part 2 of 3
(Getting Your DCF Case Closed, Should You Sign a DCF Safety Agreement or Safety Plan?, and much more)