The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) maintains a stated mission of protecting children who are victims of abuse or neglect. DCFS receives thousands of calls each year from citizens reporting child neglect or abuse, and it starts an investigation into each allegation within 24 hours.
Many calls come from family members who are directly affected as well as outside witnesses. Some cases involve teachers or other individuals who believe abuse or neglect may have occurred. If you are being investigated by DCFS, it is critical to secure legal representation from a skilled defense attorney who can protect your rights, and, if necessary, appeal the findings of a DCFS report.
Here are the steps included in the DCFS investigation process:
1. Report Received by DCFS
Once an allegation is reported, an investigator will determine if a crime is being alleged, if imminent danger is present, if an immediate visit is necessary, if evidence must be collected, if there are existing photos or videos of the reported incident, if there were any witnesses to the event, and if a full investigation is warranted.
2. Gathering of Evidence & Analysis
The next steps depend on the answers to the questions above. The investigator uses all available evidence to formulate an investigative strategy, which might include interviews with all relevant parties, further documentation, and expert testimony. The investigator views available evidence, including any contradictory reports, to determine what actually happened.
3. Conclusions and Report Submission
The investigator must determine if more than half of the evidence supports or contradicts the allegation of abuse or neglect. They will then file a preliminary report stating their findings.
4. Case Review
This review is conducted by an investigative supervisor, and possibly clinical staff, outside experts, or an attorney. It focuses on the strength of the evidence and the investigator’s conclusions.
5. Case Presented
If a case is ruled to be valid, all individuals involved are informed. If you have been accused of abuse or neglect, and the report shows that these accusations are substantiated, you have 15 working days to ask for a reconsideration if unconsidered evidence exists that you wish to present. A subsequent review will determine if reinvestigation or a report revision are necessary. Once all issues are resolved, the report will be finalized.
6. Agency Action & Follow-Up
If a report is substantiated, DCFS issues a written response to lay out the steps necessary to ensure the protection of the child and eliminate future issues. This may include legal punishments, training, or changes to existing agreements between spouses or parents. When a case is closed, all relevant parties are informed of the outcome.
Contact a Wheaton DCFS Investigation Attorney
Abuse and neglect claims often stem from contentious divorce and child custody disputes. If you have been accused of child abuse or neglect and are the subject of a DCFS investigation, do not wait any longer to enlist the trusted help of a DuPage County child abuse and neglect defense lawyer from Anderson Attorneys & Advisors. We are prepared to aggressively defend you against these allegations. Call our office at 630-877-5800 for a free consultation.