The Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), is the state child welfare agency in Illinois. The agency investigates claims of child abuse and neglect and can either immediately take a child into protective custody or ask the parent to sign a safety plan.
If the issues giving rise to the investigation do not improve, DCFS and the State’s Attorney’s Office can seek the removal of a child from the family home.
Learning that DFCS is accusing you of child abuse or neglect is unsettling, to say the least. As difficult as these allegations are to face, it’s even harder to have your child removed from your home. Regardless of whether the allegations are based in reality, they can still have a significant impact on your life, as well as the lives of your children. Our lawyer, Anisa Jordan is a dedicated Arlington Heights DCFS attorney who represents families who face a DCFS investigation, helping them appeal the agency’s decision so they can regain custody of their children and keep their family intact.
The DCFS Investigation Process
Most DCFS investigations start when someone calls the agency to report child abuse or neglect. The caller may be a friend, family member, neighbor, teacher, doctor, or anyone else who suspects a child is being mistreated. The caller will provide information to the intake worker, who will then use pre-established guidelines to determine if the Department should open an investigation. Within 24 hours of the call reporting the abuse or neglect, DCFS will send someone to the child’s home to make sure they are not at “imminent risk of harm.” If the investigator finds that to be the case, they will immediately take the child into protective custody.
If DCFS decides to look into the claims further, it has 60 days to complete a DCFS investigation. DCFS workers will speak with various parties during the investigation, some of whom may include:
- The child;
- The person accused of abuse or neglect;
- The child’s medical care providers;
- The child’s teachers or daycare workers;
- The child’s other family members; and
- Anyone else who may have information about the allegations.
While a DCFS investigation is not criminal in nature, DCFS workers often work closely with police to investigate the allegations. So you shouldn’t be surprised to see police officers conducting parts of the investigation. While a DCFS investigation does not always involve the filing of criminal charges, prosecutors are not prohibited from bringing criminal charges if they believe the situation warrants them.
If at any point during the DCFS worker’s initial visit or later in the investigation process DCFS determines that a child is not safe at their home, they will take the child into protective custody. At the conclusion of the investigation, if the State’s Attorney’s Office determines there is probable cause to remove the child, they will place the child in foster care.
What Are Your Rights After DCFS Removes a Child from Your Home?
If you had children removed from your home by DCFS, it may seem as though all hope is lost; however, you have certain rights. It is imperative that you understand your rights, which include:
- The right to have a lawyer present;
- The right to participate in all court proceedings;
- The right to a supervised visit with your child within 14 days of their removal; and
- The right to appeal many of the court’s decisions leading up to the removal of your child.
The assistance of a dedicated Waukegan DCFS appeal lawyer is an incredible resource for families struggling to regain custody of their minor children. The process of removing a child from their family is very complex, and with so much on the line, you cannot afford to risk missing your opportunity to challenge a judge’s ruling.
However, once DCFS makes the decision to remove a child, you have only 60 days to file an appeal. Thus, the best time to reach out to a Waukegan DCFS appeals lawyer is as soon as you realize there is an investigation. The sooner you reach out, the better, as your attorney may be able to help you through the investigation process, reducing the chances of DCFS removal.
Contact Our Waukegan DCFS Appeals Lawyer for Immediate Assistance with a DCFS Appeals Matter
If you recently learned that DCFS is investigating your family, or if DCFS has already removed your child from your home, reach out to The Jordan Law Firm as soon as possible. While you have rights, there are strict time limits that if not adhered to, can eliminate your ability to challenge the court’s ruling. Our lawyer, Anisa Jordan is a compassionate, knowledgeable, and experienced Waukegan DCFS appeals attorney. With her assistance, you may be able to overturn the court’s decision to place your child in another home. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation, call 224-340-6522 to schedule a free consultation today. You can also reach The Jordan Law Firm through our online form.
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