DCF Investigation


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.

DCF Investigation
DCF Investigation

Frequently Ask DCF Investigation Questions

1.) When does a DCF Investigation occur?

A DCF Investigation occurs when a report of child abuse and or neglect is screened in.

2.) What are the different types of investigations?

There are two types of DCF Investigations: emergency and non-emergency.

3.) What is an emergency investigation?

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.

4.) Who are the “collaterals” that DCF will contact during my DCF investigation?

Collateral that DCF will contact are pediatrician, school, therapist and any other service providers to you and your children.

5.) How long does a DCF Investigation last?

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.

6.) What happens during a 51B Investigation?

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.

7.) What are the outcomes of a DCF Investigation?

Your DCF investigation be either supported or unsupported.

8.) What does it mean if the investigation is unsupported?

If the allegations are “Unsupported” it demonstrates that there was no evidence to support the allegations and the case will be closed.

9.) What does it mean if the Investigation is supported?

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.

10.) Do I need an Attorney during the DCF Investigation?

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.

11.) What is Attorney Kevin Seaver’s Role during a DCF Investigation?

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.

Case Studies

( NOT FAIR HEARING N/PA) → Successfully Fighting False Allegations of Neglect and Physical Abuse During a DCF Investigation


  1.  “Do as I Say not as I do.”
  2.   How to Appeal and Reverse False DCF allegations against you
  3.   Be Aware of DCF When You are Pregnant and Smoking Marijuana
  4.   Yes, Children Lie and this may Lead DCF False Allegations
  5.   DCF False Domestic Violence Allegations
  6.   Successfully Fight DCF By not being a Do-it-yourselfer
  7.   How To successfully Fight a False Sexual Abuse DCF Allegation
  8.   Fighting DCF False Allegations of Sexual Abuse
  9.   DCF is not Your Friend – Prepare for your Child Abuse investigation
  10.   What is the Biggest Mistake you can make with DCF
  11.   How DCF Screens-In Child Abuse Reports for Investigation


  1. The Simpsons Fight DCF
  2. DCF Child Neglect due to Malnutrition
  3. DCF’s Definition of Deplorable Homes
  4. Boston Globe Spotlights DCF Overstepping Its Boundaries
  5. Putting Children First with the DCF
  6. Take Our Clients Word on Successfully Fighting DCF
  7. Using your US Constitutional Rights to Successfully Fight DCF
  8.  Allegations and Home Visit from Emergency
  9.  How To understand the DCF involvement with a SAIN Interview
  10.  Successfully Fighting Removal of Children by DCF
  11.  How Your Chid gets into DCF Custody
  12.  DCF False Allegations of Child Abuse

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