DCF Matters

Parents face few crises more more frightening than a call from the Department of Children and Families (formerly DSS).  A range of individuals in positions relevant to child care such as teachers, doctors, or social workers (so-called mandated reporters) or, less frequently, a parent or relative, may report suspected abuse or neglect to the Department, and when this happens, DCF frequently is required to investigate.

Although DCF investigations can result in the removal of children from the home, in the majority of cases the Department either finds that neglect or abuse has not occurred or else makes a finding and closes the case without pursuing it further.  If other proceedings (such as a divorce or custody dispute) are pending, the existence of a “supported 51B” may leave the court with misperceptions about one or both parents.

Although DCF workers are, for the most part, talented, motivated, and committed to serving the best interests of children, they also are overworked and underfunded, and they sometimes make mistakes.  Clarifying the DCF record can be difficult, but it may be necessary in order to obtain the best result in a related court proceeding.

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