Child Protection Actions in Connecticut
In the state of Connecticut, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) is responsible for investigating child abuse and neglect accusations. DCF and local police departments are required to inform each other upon receiving child abuse or neglect reports. It may come in the form of a referral or tip through its hotline.
When DCF Receives an Abuse or Neglect Claim
Upon receiving a tip or information from the local police department, DCF will start an investigation. An investigative social worker will be sent to the child’s home or school. The social worker’s aim is to determine whether the child was abused or neglected and identify the responsible party. The DCF investigation is usually lengthy, thorough, and potentially invasive. Hiring a child abuse defense attorney is crucial to help protect the child’s legal rights and parental privileges.
What to Expect If DCF Determines that Neglect or Abuse Has Occurred
If DCF has reasons to believe that a child is in physical danger, the agency may seek to remove the child from the home or take custody of your child. DCF can take an administrative hold on a child for no longer than 96 hours. A court will grant a motion for temporary custody if the DCF can show that:
- The child is in immediate physical danger from surroundings and due to the surroundings
- The child’s safety is endangered
- Prompt removal from the home or family is necessary to ensure the child’s safety
- Allowing the child to continue living in the home is not in the child’s best interests
Getting Your Child Back
If DCF files a Motion for Temporary Custody in court, you can request a hearing. During the hearing, the DCF will present its evidence and prove that there was probable cause. The judge will review the available evidence, listen to your attorney’s defense, and make a decision. The court may:
- Order the child to be returned to the parents
- Order protective supervision
- Order transfer of custody or guardianship
- Order the child to be given to DCF for a period of time
- Dismiss the petition.
Your attorney can cross-examine the DCF investigator, dispute the allegations against you with substantial evidence, and ultimately improve your chances of a successful outcome.
Possible Criminal Penalties
In Connecticut, Risk of Injury to a Minor is a serious offense. It is illegal for anyone to willfully place a child under 16 years of age in a situation such that their life or limb is endangered, their health is likely to be injured, or their morals are likely to be impaired. The offense is punishable by imprisonment for up to 10 years, a maximum fines of up to $15,000, or both. Risk of Injury is a C-level felony and sometimes a B felony.
Work With a Skilled Criminal Defense Attorney
According to statistics from the Administration for Children and Families, there were 8,042 total child maltreatment victims in Connecticut in 2019. If you are facing abuse or neglect allegations, you could be facing a lengthy prison sentence, massive fines, loss of custody rights, a protective order, and possible deportation. Therefore, retaining a skilled criminal defense attorney is imperative to protect your rights and help develop the right legal defense strategy that fits your unique circumstances.
At DeMatteo Legal Solutions, I’m committed to offering comprehensive legal guidance and vigorous representation to clients accused of domestic violence, including child abuse and neglect. As your attorney, I will review and investigate every last detail of your situation, explore your possible legal defenses, and determine the best defense for your case. Using my extensive experience, I will help you navigate the Connecticut criminal justice system, fight zealously on your side to defend your rights, and seek to ensure fair treatment.