A good neighbor may show concern for a child’s well-being if they fear for the safety of that child. On the other hand, they can also be extremely nosey or toxic in some circumstances. Regardless of someone’s motivation, when a call about potential child abuse comes through, the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) is required to look into any issues that may concern a child’s well-being. The DCFS is a government agency that is responsible for protecting children from abuse and neglect.
There are some things to expect when a neighbor calls and provides a report to DCFS. For any questions or concerns about a DCFS investigation, you should contact an attorney. They can help ease your worries and provide information on how to navigate the process.
What to Expect During a DCFS Investigation
Within 24 hours of the first hotline report, DCFS will assign the case to a Child Protection Investigator (CPI). DCFS has 60 days to complete the investigation to provide evidence of your child’s abuse or neglect and decide if they are at further risk. The deadline can be extended if the CPI investigator can show a good reason for it and receives approval from their supervisor.
The CPI will conduct an interview with you and the reported child in person. They will ask you questions about your family and your parenting practices. They may also want to interview your family members, your spouse, other children, other witnesses, and possibly the child’s teachers and doctors.
What Should I Do During a DCFS Investigation?
It is important to be honest and cooperative with the DCFS caseworker. If you are feeling uncomfortable or intimidated, you can end the interview at any time. Remember that you have certain rights, including the right to remain silent and the right to have an attorney present. It may be in your best interest to exercise this right so as not to say anything incriminating that could be misinterpreted.
Parents facing a DCFS investigation should:
Remain calm, respectful, and say as little as possible
Take the accusations seriously
Keep a record of your interactions with DCFS
Only allow DCFS into your home if they have a warrant or court order
Be prepared to answer questions about your parenting practices
Request an interpreter if you are a non-English speaker
Contact a DuPage County, IL Family Law Attorney
Accusations of child abuse or neglect are serious and should be taken as such. A skilled Wheaton, IL DCFS investigations attorney can provide resources and insight on what to expect when DCFS comes knocking on your door. The [[title]] is experienced in dealing with these sensitive legal matters. Contact the office at [[phone]] to set up an appointment and discuss a plan of action.