If you’re being investigated by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), you may be surprised to learn that the agency has the power to potentially remove your child from your home and place them in the care of someone else. When the agency investigates allegations of abuse and neglect, they are given broad-ranging power to intervene to protect children.
Unfortunately, even in certain situations where a parent knows allegations that have been made aren’t true, DCFS has the potential to break up families. At Granholm & Gynac in Joliet, we provide proactive representation to parents under DCFS investigation. Our attorneys are able to help you throughout the investigative process, even appeal indicated findings should the department decide against you.
Proper Representation is Crucial
When faced with a DCFS investigation, you need an advocate that understands the intricacies of the system and how to protect your rights as a parent. DCFS investigations are administrative in nature and differ from how situations might be handled in family court. The agency has broad-ranging authority and power that may surprise you. Investigations can be initiated by different types of people, including:
- Family, friends and neighbors
- Teachers and school administrators
- Doctors and nurses
- Counselors or social services workers
Many of the above individuals are actually “mandated reporters” and required to report suspected child abuse or neglect.
If You’re Facing a DCFS Investigation
Unfortunately, not every allegation reported to DCFS is made in good faith. Unwarranted investigations may be launched for a number of reasons, including when vindictive ex-spouses or partners make false accusations in an effort to hurt the other party or to use a “back door” strategy for obtaining custody.
In all scenarios, DCFS will interview the parties involved, usually make a home visit, and may take action immediately if they feel a child is in danger. Parents can be faced with potentially losing custody of their children and even face criminal charges. Teachers, nurses, law enforcement officers and others risk losing their jobs should an indicated DCFS finding be entered against them. Even if someone is cleared of all charges, the stigma of the accusation itself can haunt them personally and professionally.
For all those reasons, parents are advised to seek the help of an experienced attorney like the lawyers at Granholm and Gynac when facing a DCFS investigation. Seeking counsel early in the process can protect your rights as a parent and prevent circumstances from spinning out of control.