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Contesting Child Abuse Allegations by the DCFS

Posted on in Criminal Law

Contesting Child Abuse Allegations by the DCFSThe Illinois Department of Child and Family Services has the authority to indicate you for child abuse or neglect if its investigation concludes that there is evidence of such mistreatment. Being “indicated” does not by itself mean you are facing criminal charges, but the DCFS can use it to limit your parental role and put you on a state register that may prevent you from having a job that involves working with children. You have the right to appeal the DCFS’s decision in order to expunge their findings from your record.

Expungement Process

You have only 60 days to file an expungement request after the DCFS has indicated you for child abuse or neglect. Once you have filed the request with the DCFS, a neutral administrative law judge must hear your case within 70 days. If you are a child care worker, you will receive an expedited hearing within 35 days. The judge will hear evidence from both sides and file a recommendation on whether to grant your expungement request to the DCFS director within 90 days. If either the judge or the DCFS director denies your expungement request, you can appeal to the circuit court.

Evidence

As with prosecutors in a criminal trial, the DCFS investigators have the burden of proving their suspicions of child abuse or neglect. At the hearing, they must present their findings and show why they reached their conclusion. As part of your expungement request, the DCFS must provide you a copy of the investigation report, which you can examine for:

  • Unreliable evidence or witnesses;
  • Faulty conclusions;
  • Misrepresentation of facts; and
  • Possible bias by investigators.

As the defendant, you are not required to present evidence, but summoning your own witnesses to testify could cast doubt on the DCFS’s investigation. You also have the right to question the investigators directly, even if the DCFS does not ask them to testify during your hearing.

Contact a McHenry County Criminal Defense Attorney

Teachers and physicians are required to report to the DCFS if they suspect child abuse or neglect. DCFS investigators must determine whether there is credible evidence of wrongdoing, but their conclusion may be based on speculation and hearsay. Overzealous investigators may assume guilt instead of letting the evidence inform their opinion. The consequences of being indicated by the DCFS are too serious for you to ignore. A Crystal Lake, Illinois, criminal defense lawyer at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, can help you appeal the DCFS’s decision and clear your name. To schedule a free consultation, call 815-338-3838. 

Source:

https://www2.illinois.gov/dcfs/aboutus/had/Pages/default.aspx

Illinois State Bar Association State Bar of Wisconsin Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce Illinois Trial Lawyers Association McHenry County Bar Association
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