DCF Fair Hearing

Overview

If you have a supported decision of child abuse or neglect with The Department of Children and Families’ (DCF) you may appeal this decision. The only way to reverse a supported decision by a DCF Investigation is to file for a DCF Fair Hearing. You must file for this Fair Hearing within 30 calendar days of receiving your support decision. DCF will schedule your Fair Hearing within 90 days of your request. A DCF Fair Hearing is an informal setting that provides a fair opportunity to present your case. If you are unhappy with the results of the Fair Hearing, you may file an appeal with the Superior Court.

Frequently Ask DCF Fair Hearing Questions

1.) What is a DCF Fair Hearing?

A Fair Hearing is the ONLY place where you can reverse a supported allegation of child abuse and or neglect.

2.) When should I request a Fair Hearing?

You should request a fair hearing if  you are unhappy with the  allegations of child abuse and or neglect supported against you. You have 30 days to request a Fair Hearing from the date on the letter stating the “supported” allegations.

3.) How do I request a Fair Hearing?

To begin the Fair Hearing process, you must file a written request for a Fair Hearing with the Department’s Fair Hearing Office within 30 calendar days.

Send the request to:

DCF Fair Hearing Office

600 Washington Street, 6th Floor

Boston, MA 02111

Include in your letter:

  •         Your name
  •         The date the decision was made
  •         The name and date of birth of the child
  •         The name and address of the office where the decision was made
  •         The decision you wish to appeal (it is helpful if you include a copy of the notice DCF sent you)

You must also send a copy of your request to the director of the office where the decision was made. DCF will then contact you regarding the review process.

4.) What can you expect at your DCF Fair Hearing?

A DCF Fair Hearing is a chance for you to state your case and prove that the allegations of child abuse and or neglect are false. You can bring witnesses and physical evidence to help you reverse the allegations against you. You can also request the attendance of one of the DCF employees involved in the decision to testify. All testimonies are sworn in under oath as would occur in a courtroom.

5.) Where will my DCF Fair hearing be?

Your DCF Fair Hearings will be held in the Area Offices that the supported decision came from. If it is a case of institutional abuse and or neglect such as from a childcare program, the Hearings are usually held at the DCF Central Office.

6.) Is there a judge at a DCF Fair Hearing?

There is not a judge at a DCF Fair Hearing. The DCF Fair Hearing is conducted as a proceeding by an impartial DCF Fair Hearing Officer. The DCF Fair Hearing Officer’s role is to allow a full statement of the facts. The duty of DCF Fair Hearing Officer is to render an impartial and fair decision at the completion of the hearing.

7.) What results can you expect from your DCF Fair Hearing?

The Fair Hearing Officer will either support the original DCF decision against you or they will reverse the decision.

8.) I absolutely can’t make it the day my DCF Fair Hearing is scheduled what can I do?

If you absolutely cannot make it the day of your DCF Fair Hearing, you are allowed to ask for a continuance (reschedule) of a Fair Hearing if you have “good and sufficient cause.” You must request in writing a continuance on your Hearing date at least 10 days before your Hearing date. Again, you must have good and sufficient cause for doing such. The Department does not always grant a continuance. The sooner you request a continuance the more likely it is to be granted.

9.) Now that my Fair Hearing is over, how soon will I know the results?

After you Fair Hearing is over, the DCF Fair Hearing Officer has 60 business days to reach a decision and notify you.

10.) Who can I bring to my Fair Hearing?

You can bring witnesses and a family member or friend for support to your DCF Fair Hearing.

11.) What can I bring to my DCF Fair hearing?

You can bring evidence that you plan to submit to the Fair Hearing Officer.

12.) If English is not my first language, will a translator be provided?

Yes. If English is not your first language, you can bring a translator with you or request that DCF provide a translator.

13.) Do I need an Attorney for my DCF Fair Hearing?

You should always have an attorney Kevin Seaver present with you when speaking with DCF.

14.) What is Attorney Kevin Seaver’s role at a DCF Fair Hearing?

Attorney Kevin Seaver will prepare you prior to your Fair Hearing by submitting evidence and testimonies on your behalf. Attorney Kevin Seaver will be present the day of the Fair Hearing to support you and ensure your rights are protected. Attorney Seaver will advocate on your behalf and question all witnesses present.

 

Case Studies

  • (N) → Unsupporting false medical neglect allegations against a mother at a DCF fair hearing
  • (N) → Reversing false neglect allegations by a mother at a DCF fair hearing
  • (SA/N) → Reversing False Sexual Abuse Allegations at a DCF Fair Hearing
  • (N) → Unsupporting a DCF allegation of Neglect by a Teacher at a DCF Fair Hearing
  • (PA) → Unsupporting an allegation of Physical Abuse at a DCF Fair Hearing
  • (approval for pre-adoptive) → Getting a Foster Parents Home Approved to be an Adoptive Home Through the DCF Fair Hearing
  • (DV/N) → Unsupporting False Neglect Allegations against a Father For Domestic Violence at a Fair Hearing
  • (PA) → Unsupporting False Physical Abuse Allegations by a Teacher’s Aide at a DCF Fair Hearing
  • (PA/N) → Reversing False Physical Abuse Allegations at a DCF Fair Hearing
  • (DV/N) → Reversing False Neglect Allegations involving Domestic Violence at a DCF Fair Hearing
  • (N) → Reversing False Neglect Allegations During a High-Conflict Divorce at a DCF Fair Hearing
  • (N) → Reversing False Neglect Allegations against a Daycare Worker at a DCF Fair Hearing
  • Reversing False Marijuana/Neglect Allegations at a DCF Fair Hearing
  • FALSE ALLEGATION OF NEGLECT REVERSED AT A DCF FAIR HEARING

 

Videos

  1. Successfully Fighting False Neglect Allegations at a DCF Fair Hearing
  2. How you can avoid the 3 DCF fair hearing mistakes

Blogs

  1. Keys To getting Motivated When you Feel Trapped by Your DCF Action Plan
  2. How to Succeed at your DCF Fair Hearing

 Kevin Seaver is a trusted MA DCF Attorney Specialized in DCF Law since 1991.