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Will I Lose Custody of My Children if DCFS Is Investigating Me?

Posted on in Child Custody / Parental Responsibilities

chicago dcfs investigation lawyerParents who have been contacted by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) may feel an entire range of emotions - fear, anger, confusion, uncertainty. All of these reactions are normal. The Illinois DCFS is an agency with significant decision-making power when it comes to the welfare of children in the state, and parents need to take investigations seriously. 

However, it is important to remember that an investigation does not automatically signal the termination of parental rights or the removal of children from their home. If you just found out you are the subject of a DCFS investigation and you want to know more, read on. With the help of an experienced Illinois parental rights attorney, you may be able to successfully fight allegations and protect your family. 

Why Am I Being Investigated? 

DCFS investigations generally begin after somebody calls the agency to report abuse or neglect. There are state hotlines people can call, and the person reporting the abuse is often a teacher, healthcare provider, or neighbor. Unfortunately, irresponsible actors can also level false allegations of abuse or neglect. Until you know more about the allegation, it is important to remain calm and not jump to conclusions about who may have reported you. 

What Happens During a DCFS Investigation? 

Although DCFS investigations are separate from criminal investigations, police may need to get involved. Some parents are simultaneously investigated by DCFS and the police, and they may work together and share information. 

Once an investigation begins, a DCFS agent will try to visit with the child involved within 24 hours. This often involves a home visit to determine if a child is in immediate danger. After the initial visit, the DCFS agent will continue to collect information. They may interview many people, including the person who made the allegations of abuse or neglect and others who have access to information about the child’s wellbeing, such as teachers, doctors, and the parent against whom the accusations are made. 

During the investigation, DCFS may make more than one visit to a child’s home. During this time, parents should be open and honest with the investigator and never obstruct their access to the home or the child. Doing so could raise serious red flags about the child’s safety or parental fitness. 

What Happens After DCFS Finishes the Investigation? 

DCFS has 60 days to complete its investigation. If the agency finds that a child has been or is being abused or neglected, the case is considered “indicated,” and the agency may create an action plan that can include removing the child from their home. 

If parents disagree with DCFS’s findings, they can appeal. Sometimes, findings have no merit, and it has even been the case that DCFS employees have falsified or manipulated evidence to show abuse or neglect. If you have been investigated and your case labeled “indicated,” it is time to hire an attorney. 

Get Help From a Rolling Meadows DCFS Investigation Lawyer

If you are being investigated by DCFS, you do not have to go through this process alone. An experienced, compassionate DuPage County DCFS investigation attorney with The Law Offices of Curtis Bennett Ross, L.L.C. may be able to help. We will help review the details of your case and advocate for your parental rights. Call us today to schedule a free limited consultation and find out more about how we can help you. Contact our conveniently located downtown Chicago offices at 312-984-1514




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