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The DCFS Accused Me of Child Abuse. Now What?

Posted on in Family Law

Crystal Lake Family Law AttorneyWhether you are a parent, stepparent, grandparent, aunt or uncle, or childcare worker, being accused of intentionally hurting a child is shocking. If you were recently contacted by The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) due to accusations of child abuse, you may be caught completely off guard. You may have questions like, “Will I face criminal charges?” and “What can I do to clear my name?” The first step after learning that you are the subject of a DCFS investigation is to contact a skilled attorney. Your lawyer can help you understand the accusations laid against you and how best to defend yourself.

Your Rights During a DCFS Investigation

False allegations of child abuse may stem from a vengeful ex or even a simple misunderstanding. However, every allegation should be taken seriously. The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services is not law enforcement; however, they work closely with police during child abuse and neglect cases. DCFS findings can lead to criminal charges as well as restricted parenting time or child custody.

If you received a notice from the DCFS indicating a finding of child abuse, you should know that you have rights. You have the right to:

  • Receive a copy of the information compiled by DCFS during the investigation (excluding certain protected information like who made the initial report of the alleged abuse)

  • Request a formal appeal

  • Request a judicial review of the DCFS’s decision

Requesting an Appeal

You have 60 days after receiving a notice of the DCFS’s findings to request an appeal. Once you request an appeal, you will be given a time and date for a “status call” during which you receive information about the case against you. Next, you will attend an in-person hearing with an administrative law judge. At the hearing, your attorney can call witnesses to the stand to testify and present other evidence to the judge in your defense. If there is not sufficient evidence to warrant a finding of child abuse or neglect, the DCFS’s “indicated finding” may be expunged.

Contact a McHenry County DCFS Defense Lawyer

If The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services has made an “indicated finding” against you, you could face severe consequences including the removal of your child from your home and criminal charges. At Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, we know that not all accusations of child abuse and neglect are substantiated. Our skilled Crystal Lake DCFS appeals attorneys can help you file an appeal and represent you during the hearing. We can help you fight to clear your name. Call 815-338-3838 for a free, confidential consultation to learn more.

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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