If you are facing allegations of child abuse and or neglect, The Department of Children and Families will be investigating you and your family. During a DCF investigation a DCF social worker will visit your home, interview you, your children and any other collaterals to determine if the allegation of child abuse and or neglect should be supported.
Frequently Ask DCF Investigation Questions
A DCF Investigation occurs when a report of child abuse and or neglect is screened in.
There are two types of DCF Investigations: emergency and non-emergency.
An emergency investigation is when the DCF screener determines that there is an immediate danger to the child. This investigation begins within 24 hours. All other investigation are considered non-emergency. Non-emergency investigations begin within 15 working days.
Collateral that DCF will contact are pediatrician, school, therapist and any other service providers to you and your children.
In the state of Massachusetts, a DCF investigation is 15 working days. This does not include weekends and holidays. An investigation may be extended if a DCF investigator needs more information to proceed with their findings.
During a DCF 51B Investigation, the DCF investigator visits the family home and asks questions about the incident. The investigator will speak to the parents and children involved to get information about the alleged incident. Investigators will also contact collaterals that view the children such as their doctors, dentists, therapists (if applicable), and schools. At the end of the 51B investigation, the DCF worker will decide to support or unsupport the allegations.
Your DCF investigation be either supported or unsupported.
If the allegations are “Unsupported” it demonstrates that there was no evidence to support the allegations and the case will be closed.
If your case is supported with no assessment, DCF found the allegation to be true but want to open the case” based on reasonable cause. Defined by the Department in 110 CMR 4.32, “‘Reasonable Cause to believe'” means a collection of facts, knowledge or observations which tend to support or are consistent with the allegations, and when viewed in light of the surrounding circumstances and credibility of persons providing information, would lead one to conclude that a child has been abused or neglected. Factors to consider include, but are not limited to, the following: direct disclosure by the child(ren) or caretaker; physical evidence of injury or harm; observable behavioral indicators; corroboration by collaterals (e.g., professionals, credible family members); and the social worker and supervisor’s clinical base of knowledge.
It is highly recommended that you retain an Attorney, especially during the investigation period. After an investigation, your DCF involvement can either continue on into an assessment or be unsupported. Having an Attorney at this stage can help prevent DCF from opening an assessment of your family that could drag on for months. Remember, DCF tells you that you are entitled to counsel, which means you can have an Attorney at anytime.
Mr. Seaver will be with you every step of the way. Mr. Seaver will be present during all DCF home visits. He will be there when you and your children are interviewed. Mr. Seaver will advocate for you and ensure DCF does not bend or break the law when questioning you and your children.
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