The Department of Children and Families’ (DCF) investigative processes begins with a home visit. Where the child and home are viewed and assessed by the social worker assigned to the investigation of your case (known as the “DCF Investigator”). The DCF child abuse investigation includes the following:
- A home visit.
- A determination of the nature, extent and cause or causes of the injuries of your child.
- Identification of the person or persons responsible for the child abuse.
- The name, age, and condition of all your children in the same household.
- An evaluation of the parents/caretaker and the home environment.
- A DCF investigator may want to speak to collaterals, such as your neighbors, school principal, vice-principal, school coach, school nurse, teachers, family members, pediatrician etc.
When the DCF investigation is concluded by the DCF investigator, there are four possible outcomes:
- The allegation of child abuse and or neglect against you may be unsupported, and the case is closed with no further DCF involvement of you and your children.
- The allegation can be supported, and the case is closed with no further DCF involvement with you and your children.
- The allegation can be supported, and the case will remain open. The case is assigned to a social worker to complete a 60-day assessment. When supported, you have 30 days to appeal and file for a fair hearing, which is the only remedy to unsupported a false allegation of child abuse and/or neglect. It is critical to do this in a timely fashion, or you will be foreclosed forever from appealing.
- The allegation can be supported for substantiated concern. The case is assigned to a social worker to complete a 60-day assessment. At the completion of the assessment, you will receive a written letter of the department’s decision.
When the case remains open, the department will assign a social worker to conduct a DCF assessment. Supported decisions are automatically reviewed following the Department’s Review. Each DCF Review will consider all information collected during the assessment, as well as the information collected during the investigations which lead to the “supported” decision. The purpose of the DCF Review is to determine whether a supported decision should be changed to unsupported. The change of the decision from supported to unsupported new information has come to light.
What happens when DCF reverses a decision from “supported” to “unsupported”:
- DCF will take your name off the Department’s Central Registry.
- Any alleged perpetrator listing on the Central Registry will be automatically eliminated.
- DCF will contact you to let you know the investigation was reversed and it was unsupported.