DuPage County DCFS Attorney

Winfield DCFS appeal attorneys

Lawyers for DCFS Investigations, Hearings, and Appeals in Wheaton, Glen Ellyn, and Glendale Heights

The prevention of child abuse and neglect is one of the most important goals of the legal system, and officials may take immediate action in response to claims that a child has been the victim of neglect or abuse. If it is suspected that a child has suffered or is suffering harm at the hands of parents or others who live in their home, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) may perform an investigation into the situation. If investigators have reason to believe that a child is at risk, they may choose to remove the child from the custody of the parents. 

If you have learned that your family is being investigated by DCFS, you will want to act quickly to determine how you can avoid potential consequences to your relationship with your children or other family members. The family law attorneys of McSwain Nagle Giese & Rapp, P.C. can provide the legal help you need during this difficult time. We have over 100 years of combined experience, and we have assisted many families in cases involving DCFS. We will work with you to ensure that you respond to investigators properly while fighting to protect your rights and helping you maintain custody of your children.

DCFS Investigations and Appeals

There are a variety of people who are considered "mandated reporters" that are required to report suspected child abuse or neglect to the authorities. These include teachers, doctors, coaches, counselors, or therapists,  and DCFS may perform an investigation based on their reports. In other cases, investigations may take place if a parent is accused of committing domestic violence or if criminal charges against a parent, such as drug charges or DUI, lead to the suspicion that children are living in an unsafe environment.

A DCFS investigation may be based on claims that a parent has committed physical, verbal or sexual abuse against a child, or because it is believed that a parent has committed neglect and failed to provide the child with the proper food, supervision, or medical care. In some cases, investigations could occur even if a parent did not directly cause harm to a child. For example, if the child is present during heated confrontations between parents or other family members, the home could be considered an unsafe or unhealthy environment.

During an investigation, interviews may be conducted with the child, the parents, other family members, teachers, doctors, or others who may have information about the allegations or the family's circumstances. At the conclusion of the investigation, DCFS will notify the parents of their findings in writing. A finding of "unfounded" means that DCFS was unable to uncover evidence substantial enough to conclude that child abuse or neglect occurred. A finding of "indicated" means that there is credible evidence of abuse or neglect, and in these cases, DCFS may remove a child from the home or require parents to take certain actions to ensure that children are safe.

Following an indicated finding by DCFS, parents have the right to appeal this decision. An appeal must be filed within 60 days of receiving notice of the findings from DCFS. A hearing will be held before an administrative law judge, and evidence and testimony can be presented. The judge will provide a written report to the DCFS regarding whether a preponderance of the evidence showed that the child abuse or neglect has occurred. The DCFS director may adopt, reject, or modify the judge's recommendations. If a parent's appeal is unsuccessful, they may file a subsequent appeal in the applicable Illinois Circuit Court.

Contact Our Naperville DCFS Hearing Lawyer

If you have been accused of committing child abuse or neglect, if you have been notified of an investigation by DCFS, or if your child has been removed from your home, McSwain Nagle Giese & Rapp, P.C. can help you determine how to proceed with your case. We will explain your legal options and advocate for your rights and your children's best interests, helping you reach an outcome that will avoid disruption to your family. To set up a free consultation, contact us today at 630-407-1200. We provide family law services in Winfield, Wheaton, Carol Stream, Glen Ellyn, Warrenville, Glendale Heights, Naperville, and throughout DuPage County, Kane County, Cook County, Will County, and Kendall County.

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