DuPage County DCFS Investigation Defense Lawyers
The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) receives a sizable number of calls each day to its hotline to report alleged child neglect and abuse, including from child care staff, teachers, nurses, and doctors. Even with a high volume of calls, investigations of submitted claims begin within 24 hours of initial receipt. This includes in-person observation of the child’s environment if there are claims of insufficient shelter or dangerous parental indifference.
While many of these claims have merit, others do not. Some are part of an attempt by one parent to sully the name of the other to influence decisions made by the court during contentious divorce or child custody proceedings. If you receive notification that you are the subject of a DCFS investigation, it is imperative you enlist the help of a skilled defense attorney immediately.
Because custody and visitation can be limited or taken away, Anderson Attorneys & Advisors understands the critical nature of these accusations and aggressively advocates for parents whose reputation and time with their children are at stake. We will fight diligently to protect your rights, clear your name and protect your relationship with your child.
Attorney Audriana Anderson has significant experience in DCFS abuse and neglect investigations. As Supervisor of the DuPage County State’s Attorney’s Office Juvenile and Family Justice Unit, Ms. Anderson participated in hundreds of DCFS investigations throughout DuPage County. Now in private practice, Ms. Anderson takes that unique and specialized knowledge and uses it to benefit those who are being investigated by DCFS.
What Are My Rights?
If you are accused of child neglect or abuse as part of a DCFS investigation, you have the right to:
- Receive copies of investigative files, with some information redacted as required by law;
- Request an appeal hearing if a DCFS investigator indicates you in abusive or neglectful activity, where your attorney can present evidence and testimony to refute the claim; and
- See a judge’s review of the final decision by DCFS following the appeal hearing.
Anderson Attorneys & Advisors will collect and analyze all possible information as part of your defense. Our tenacious and meticulous approach is designed to uncover any inconsistencies or witness accounts that support your case.
DCFS Investigation Process
Once DCFS initiates an investigation, it has 60 days to make a determination, with a possible 30-day extension for good cause. An investigator interviews you, all children in the household, extended family, witnesses, and any other involved persons. During this time, a child may be placed in protective custody if it is believed there is an imminent danger. Alternatively, a safety plan may be enacted to allow continued contact with the child either through supervision or a temporary change of residence.
To reach their conclusion, the investigator collects information that both supports and contradicts the allegation. DCFS informs an accused parent or guardian of its findings within 10 days of completion with either an “unfounded” or “indicated” designation, which it submits to the confidential State Central Register.
Upon receipt of an indicated report that alleges a child was abused or neglected, your attorney can file for an appeal and hearing before a judge, who will make a final determination. Indicated investigations remain on the register anywhere from five to 50 years, depending on the allegation. If a claim is classified as unfounded, your lawyer can ask that the record remains on the register for longer than the mandated one to three years to preserve it as evidence if further harassment occurs.
Contact a Wheaton Criminal Defense Attorney
If you face abuse or neglect accusations, do not wait to secure experienced legal representation. Anderson Attorneys & Advisors are ready to help you maintain rightful custody of your children. To learn how we can assist today, contact a DuPage County defense lawyer at 630-877-5800 for a free consultation.