What to Do If DCFS is Investigating You: A Guide from a Top Juvenile Dependency Lawyer in California
If you live in Los Angeles, California, you are probably aware of the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).
DCFS is an agency that investigates allegations of child abuse and neglect. If someone has called DCFS on you, it is essential to know what to expect to protect your rights.
This guide will discuss what happens during a DCFS investigation and what you should do to protect yourself.
What Happens If DCFS is Called on You?
If someone calls DCFS to report that they suspect you are abusing or neglecting your child, DCFS will begin an investigation.
DCFS will determine whether there is enough evidence to support the allegations. The agency may contact you, your child, and anyone else who may have information about the situation.
It is important to remember that DCFS will not remove your child from your home without a court order unless there is an immediate danger to your child’s health and safety.
However, if DCFS does remove your child, you have the right to an attorney, and you should contact one immediately.
What Happens When DCFS is Called?
When DCFS is called, the agency will begin an investigation when DCFS receives a report of suspected abuse or neglect. First, the agency will send a social worker to your home to assess the situation.
The social worker will ask questions about your child and living situation. They will also want to speak with your child and anyone else who may have information about the situation.
The social worker may collect evidence such as pictures, videos, and audio recordings. The social worker will then put all of their findings in a report for DCFS and the juvenile dependency court.
What Happens During a DCFS Investigation?
During a DCFS investigation, the agency will gather information about your family and your child.
The agency may request medical and school records, medical records, speak to your child’s teachers, and conduct a home visit. DCFS may also ask you to submit to drug tests, psychological evaluations, or other assessments.
If DCFS finds evidence of abuse or neglect, the agency may ask you to participate in services such as counseling or parenting classes.
If you do not participate in these services, DCFS may take legal action to protect your child, such as filing a dependency petition if they have not done so already.
How Long Does DCFS Have to Investigate a Case?
DCFS has 30 days to complete an investigation. However, the agency may request an extension if they need more time to gather information.
If DCFS is investigating you, and they find evidence of abuse or neglect, the agency may continue to work with your family for a longer period to ensure your child’s safety.
If they file a petition with the juvenile dependency court, the case can last anywhere from 6 months to 18 months.
What Should You Do If DCFS is Investigating You?
If DCFS is investigating you, it is essential to take the situation seriously. The following are some steps you should take:
Contact an attorney: You have the right to an attorney during a DCFS investigation. An attorney can help protect your rights and ensure that DCFS follows proper procedures.
Cooperate with DCFS: Cooperating when DCFS is investigating you is essential. If you do not cooperate, DCFS may take legal action to protect your child.
Document everything: Keep records of all communication with DCFS, including phone calls and emails. Also, document any interactions you have with social workers or other DCFS staff.
Get support: Going through a DCFS investigation can be stressful. Getting support from family, friends, or a therapist is essential.
WHAT SHOULD YOU IF YOU NEED A CPS LAWYER IN LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA?
If you have been accused of abuse or neglect, it is crucial to get a CPS lawyer as soon as possible.