Dec. 28, 2020
Although courts are still not in full operation, administrative agencies, including DCF and DMV, are holding virtual hearings. Back in November, one of my clients and I had a hearing to challenge DCF's substantiation of physical neglect. We received a notice a couple of weeks ago that hearing officer reversed the decision.
My client was substantiated for physical neglect when a child injured another child while she was working as a monitor. We argued that her supervision was not inadequate given the circumstances (there were other children that she was watching) and that the act of a child independently hurting another was a supervening cause that she could not stop.
It is important to note that these were not criminal charges nor were they allegations in a neglect petition. DCF was involved because my client had a job involving children (putting her within DCF's purview). Investigation, substantiation and registry placements are the administrative actions DCF can take in that situation. Criminal matters are solely handled by police and prosecutors. Parents can be taken to juvenile court for DCF to seek to interfere in their family relationships.
Although a substantiation is not criminal in nature, a DCF record could cause issues in a person's future if he or she becomes involved with DCF later, wants to be a foster parent or, if placed on the registry, works in a field or participates in n acitivity that involves children (which could include teaching, coaching, church, bus driving, etc.). Unsubstantiated allegations could be expunged.
If you are the subject of a DCF investigation, contact me to discuss what can be done about your case.