Few things are more frightening than having the Department of Children and Families (DCF) involved in your life. It’s an overwhelming and emotional experience that no parent is ever prepared to endure.
This is why our skilled legal team at Foley & MacAdie, P.C. has put together a list of tips that every parent involved in a DCF investigation should know.
1. KNOW YOUR RIGHTS!
When dealing with DCF, it is crucial to know your rights and obligations during the investigation. For example, you have the right to:
- Know exactly what accusations were made;
- Have an attorney review any paperwork prior to signing;
- Have an attorney be present during the investigation; and
- Read the DCF report
Further, if DCF files a care and protection action to remove your children from the home, you have the right to an attorney, even if you cannot afford one.
You also have the right not to cooperate with the DCF investigation. It’s true – you are under no obligation to speak with the social worker or even let them into your home. However, if you refuse to cooperate, it doesn’t mean the investigation will just go away. DCF can opt to get a Court Order, compelling you to cooperate. Further, your non-cooperation will not be looked at favorably by DCF. If you are considering not cooperating with a DCF investigation, it’s extremely important that you first discuss your options with an attorney.
2. READ EVERYTHING BEFORE YOU SIGN!
It’s very common for individuals to sign documents without reading them over- your gym membership documentation, contracts from your internet service provider, your apartment lease, etc. While you should always read what you are signing, this holds especially true when dealing with DCF. It’s also important to note that you have the right to have an attorney review any paperwork before you sign.
3. ASK FOR COPIES!
After signing any documentation, ask that you receive a copy and make sure to put it in a safe place. If you have an attorney, make sure your attorney gets copies as well.
4. BE POLITE!
We understand how stressful and emotional the process can be, but it’s so important to always keep your cool. You are only doing yourself and your children a disservice by getting angry.
5. DON’T OVERSHARE!
Anything you say to a social worker can be used against you, so it’s extremely important to only answer the questions asked. Don’t give them anymore information than they need to know.
The best thing you can do for yourself AND your children is to know and understand your rights and obligations during this investigation. We understand that not everyone can afford an attorney, but if you are interested in receiving further assistance, please contact our office at 978-263-4160 to schedule a consultation.
At Foley & MacAdie, P.C., we will work tirelessly to protect you and your children and we’ll remain with you every step of the way.