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What You Should Know About DCFS Investigations

Posted on in DCFS Issues

Arlington Heights family law attorneysThe Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) is the agency responsible for investigating allegations of child neglect and abuse. If someone accuses you of harming a child, the DCFS may conduct an investigation to determine the validity of the accusations. The investigation is used to find evidence of child abuse or neglect, determine whether or not the child is at risk of further harm, and find ways to help the family via services in their community. If you have been accused of child abuse or neglect, you could be facing both criminal charges and significant child custody-related consequences. It is possible that your child may even be removed from your home. For help managing DCFS investigations and child custody concerns, contact an experienced family law attorney.

Responding to Accusations of Child Neglect or Child Abuse

Tragically, millions of children are abused and neglected every year in the United States and across the globe. In many cases, intervention by governmental organizations like the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services may save a child’s life. However, not every accusation of child abuse or neglect is credible or well-meaning. In fact, some parents who are involved in custody disputes may make false claims of abuse or neglect in an attempt to sway their child custody case. If you have been falsely accused of harming your child, you may understandably feel shocked and outraged. However, it is important to remain calm and comply completely with any DCFS investigations that may be initiated.

What Happens During a Child Abuse Investigation?

When a report is made to the DCFS about a child who is potentially in harm’s way, the agency will dispatch a child protection investigator to evaluate the veracity of the concerns. A DCFS investigation is not the same thing as a criminal investigation, but DCFS agents often work very closely with the police.

DCFS investigations must follow Child Endangerment and Risk Assessment Protocol (CERAP). During the investigation, the investigator will evaluate the child’s home and conduct various interviews. He or she may interview the child, the individual accused of abusing or neglecting the child, the child’s teachers, doctors, or daycare staff, and any other individuals who may have information relevant to the investigation. If the investigator determines that there are safety concerns, he or she may ask the parent to agree to a safety plan. If the investigator determines that the child is in immediate danger, he or she may have the child removed from the home and taken into protective custody.

Contact an Illinois Parental Rights Lawyer

The outcome of a DCFS investigation can have a major impact on child custody proceedings and other family law matters. For help with allegations of child abuse or neglect, child custody disputes, and more, contact A. Traub & Associates. To schedule a confidential consultation with a skilled Arlington Heights family law attorney, call our office at 847-749-4182 today.

 

Sources:

https://cfrc.illinois.edu/pubs/rp_20150501_IllinoisChildEndangermentRiskAssessmentProtocolFY2015AnnualEvaluation.pdf

https://www2.illinois.gov/dcfs/aboutus/Pages/ab_about.aspx

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