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Fighting DCF Investigations in Westport Connecticut (Part 2 of 4)

Fighting DCF Investigations in Westport Connecticut
(Part 2 of 4)

Click here for Part 1

What is a Westport DCF Investigation?

Any of the best Westport Connecticut DCF law firms can explain to you that there are actually two types of Connecticut DCF investigations. The lower-risk and less intrusive is called a Family Assessment Response, or a “FAR.” On the other end of the DCF investigation spectrum is the higher risk DCF “Full Investigation.” If the allegations are serious, a Full Investigation usually comes hand-in-hand with the threat of a DCF Neglect Petition or an Order of Temporary Custody or Removal (“OTC”), which is handled in Connecticut Superior Court. DCF agents unilaterally determine in their sole (and sometimes unreasonable) discretion which type of investigation is necessary, depending on the severity of the case.

What Happens during a Westport DCF Family Assessment Response (“FAR”) Investigation?

A DCF Family Assessment Response / FAR in Westport Connecticut is a comprehensive risk assessment investigation of your family. A FAR lasts for 45 days and while not as intense as a Full Investigation, a FAR can escalate into a high-level “Full DCF Investigation” if it’s not properly handled from the outset. Your top Westport Connecticut DCF attorney lawyer should explain that a FAR inquiry is similar to a Full Investigation in that both gather similar information, but a FAR does not result with any findings or conclusions regarding abuse or neglect against your or your family.

The most stressful part of a FAR DCF inquiry or investigation in Westport Connecticut is that – if your DCF social worker thinks it’s necessary – he or she can escalate your DCF case to a Full Investigation and can also go pull your kids out of their classrooms to speak with them without you even knowing it. This can be triggered by anything that DCF thinks is a “red flag” – reports of physical discipline and spanking, a failed drug test, your refusal to cooperate, or information from you or your kids that indicates a potential problem are just a few examples.

What Happens in a Full Westport Connecticut DCF Investigation?

The most serious type of DCF investigation is the Full Investigation. While this is still on DCF’s investigative track, it comes with conclusions and possible substantiations. At the end of the 45-day investigation period, the DCF social worker will need to either “substantiate” or “unsubstantiate” the accusations or abuse or neglect made against you or your family.

Think of this as a “guilty” or “not guilty” verdict at the end of a trial…except that with Connecticut DCF Investigations, you don’t get to call witnesses or question the person who has made allegations against you and your family. In fact, DCF can keep the name of your accuser anonymous. If this sounds unfair to you, it’s because it is! And, while DCF didn’t write the Connecticut laws governing and regulating them, they are required by law to abide by them.

Will You Be Reported in DCF’s Public Central Registry of Abusers?

At the end of any Westport Connecticut Full DCF Investigation, you will get a letter in the mail, informing you of DCF’s findings and indicating whether allegations against you were substantiated. It will contain two boxes, which may be “checked” by the DCF social worker on your case. The first indicates whether DCF feels that you pose a continued threat to the welfare, safety, and health of your children. The second indicates whether DCF will publish its finding of abuse or neglect on its publicly available Central Registry. Finally, DCF will indicate in that letter whether they will require your family to receive additional services which, if refused or declined, could trigger a Superior Court DCF case against your family.

Can I Efficiently and Cost-Effectively Fight my Westport Connecticut DCF Investigation?

One of the most effective ways to fight a DCF investigation is to retain a top Westport Connecticut DCF attorney to protect you throughout the entire DCF process, help work out a resolution when DCF makes unreasonable demands, and communicate with DCF social workers and investigation supervisors to try to close your case as soon as possible without any findings of abuse or neglect against you. The best Westport Connecticut DCF attorneys and lawyers understand and appreciate the balance between advocacy on your family’s behalf, cooperation with DCF’s mandates, and protection for your family.

So if you and your family are the target of a DCF investigation in Westport Connecticut, it’s well worth your money and time to retain a Connecticut DCF Investigation lawyer and learn about your rights, especially if you’ve never dealt with Connecticut DCF before. Read our blog for more information on fighting Westport DCF Investigations.

Continue Reading…Westport Connecticut DCF Investigations, Part 3 of 4
(Fighting Your DCF Case, Dangers of Signing DCF Safety Agreements / Service Plans, and much more)