It is very important to understand the wide variety of ways that the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (DCF) can become involved in your life. DCF involvement can harm you as a parent, grandparent, or other caretaker, in addition to harming your family.
DCF has the authority to call upon police officers and social workers, people unknown to you or your family, to take your child(ren) away in certain circumstances. This can be done without any warning, at any time of day or night. Your child(ren) can then be taken from your home and placed in a foster home, with complete strangers.
After your child(ren) are taken, your voice may not be heard in a Hearing until at least 72 hours after the fact, sometimes longer. During this hearing, your visitation can be limited such as requiring supervised visitation. In extreme situations the DCF may request of the court to cancel your visitation. The Department may also request of the court to terminate your parental rights could be terminated at a later hearing.
DCF preserves the right to keep your personal and family information in their records. This information can be shared with the local, state, and federal police, and any court in the event of a Hearing.
If the case involves the event of sexual abuse, exploitation, serious physical injury, or death of a child, DCF is also required to share your information with your District Attorney. This information can be shared with your current employer or potential employer if the job you are involved with involves caretaking capacity of children. This information can interfere with your ability to find gainful employment and support your family. You also become unable to seek gainful employment in the fields of childcare or teaching with a DCF supported decision of child abuse/neglect against you. You are also not allowed to become adoptive parent or a foster parent
A supported DCF allegation of child abuse against you may limit you from participating in volunteer activities. This may include minor sports teams, Girl or Boy Scouts, and other community organizations. Some of these organizations may request CORI information and some will ask if you have had a supported DCF allegation of child abuse and/or neglect against you.
When DCF becomes involved with your family, it is unknown how long it will take to remove DCF from your life. Expertise in this matter is essential, and by retaining Attorney Kevin Seaver, you are one step closer to keeping your family whole and your future bright.