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DCFS Findings and the Appeals Process

Posted on in Family Law

Illinois DCFS findings, Crystal Lake Criminal Defense AttorneysThe Illinois Department of Child and Family Services, also known as DCFS, investigates charges of abuse and neglect, and issues findings based on their investigations. The findings can have a negative impact on a person's ability to parent his or her child, or be around children generally.

A person with an indicated finding of abuse or neglect is also entered into the State Central Register, which can be searched as part of a background check in some professions. If a person works in a profession that involves children, a DCFS finding may mean losing a job. When the stakes are this high, it is important for an appeal to be handled properly.

Once DCFS issues an “indicated” finding against a person, the person may appeal the decision before an administrative law judge. DCFS reports are indicated when DCFS finds there is credible evidence of neglect or abuse in a situation. When DCFS notifies a person of the indicated finding against him or her, the notification usually informs the person of a right to appeal, and contains instructions on how to file an appeal.

The DCFS appellate process is started by notifying DCFS that an appeal will be filed, and doing so within the deadline DCFS indicates on the notification letter. After informing DCFS of the intent to appeal, a person may file a written appeal with the DCFS Administrative Hearings Unit. For people in certain professions, for example child care workers, an expedited appeal may be allowed upon request.

The administrative law judge who hears the case looks at the evidence gathered during the DCFS investigation and determines whether the evidence DCFS relied on in making its decision supports the decision. Depending on how the administrative law judge weighs the evidence, he or she makes a recommendation to the DCFS director to grant or deny the expungement request. If the expungement is granted, the person's name is removed from the State Central Register.

If the administrative law judge decides that the evidence supports the DCFS finding, and recommends a denial of a request to expunge a person's name from the State Central Register, the person can appeal the decision through the circuit court, and the appellate court if the circuit court issues a negative decision.

While a person can file for appeal without an attorney, it is advisable to at least consult an attorney experienced in DCFS appeals before filing an appeal. There may be legal concerns to consider, that could save a person from having to appeal multiple decisions to get the desired result.

Contact Us for Legal Assistance

If you have been “indicated” by DCFS, or have been accused of child abuse or neglect and are facing a DCFS investigation, contact the skilled Crystal Lake criminal defense attorneys at our law firm for a free consultation. We will help you throughout each step of your case.

Sources:

https://www.illinois.gov/dcfs/aboutus/notices/Documents/rules_336.pdf

https://casetext.com/case/slater-v-dept-of-chil-fam-ser

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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