WHAT SHOULD I DO IF CONTACTED BY DCFS?
It is very important to have legal representation any time you are dealing with agent of the government. With DCFS it is especially important because your family is at stake and possibly your job if you work with children regularly.
DCFS has very specific rules in place that they are required to follow when conducting an investigation. However, for a variety of reasons the rules are frequently disregarded or skipped entirely. The result being that if you don’t know your rights and assert them the caseworker at your home may not even tell you, you have options.
For example, you are supposed to be given written notice that explains exactly what you are being accused in terms of abuse and/or neglect and what child or children is the victim of said abuse and/or neglect.
Unfortunately, most people don’t plan or expect to ever be investigated by DCFS and therefore know very little if anything about what the process entails and what rights they have.
There is no single answer to what is the best way to deal with DCFS, as every case or situation is different but one thing is clear you will have a much better chance of a quick and satisfactory resolution to your case if you have an attorney to navigate you through the process and expedite the process where possible.
In general, DCFS has 60 days to complete an investigation of alleged abuse or neglect and at times they take much longer than that. During the course of their investigation you might be required to participate in any number of “services” or programs including potentially agreeing to a “safety plan” which often means one or both parents being separated from the children during the entire investigative phase of the case.
The best thing you can do during that initial contact from DCFS is to politely request a name and phone number of the investigator who has contacted you and the contact an attorney immediately to determine the best way to proceed.
Contact the Russo Law Offices for a free assessment of your situation and to see how we can help you navigate this very stressful and scary situation with as much confidence and calmness as possible. We’re here to represent you as a dcfs lawyer in Wheaton.