The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (“DCFS”) is the state agency responsible for investigating allegations of child abuse and neglect. They are a separate and distinct entity from the police, the State’s Attorney’s Office, and other state and local law enforcement agencies. However, they often work hand-in-hand with those other agencies.
If DCFS contacts your or you receive notice from them of suspected child abuse or neglect, you should immediately contact an attorney, because it is important to understand your rights and responsibilities during this process. If DCFS makes an indicated finding against you or your spouse, significant other, or household family member, it could have serious consequences for you and your children, including the potential for a juvenile or criminal case against you, possibly losing custody, and it may affect your employment.
After the investigation, DCFS will notify the accused parent in writing whether there is an “indicated” finding or the accusation was “unfounded.” An “indicated” finding means that DCFS has concluded there is credible evidence that a child has been abused or neglected, and if this occurs, you have the right to an appeal within 60 days to an Administrative Law Judge, and if necessary, the next step would be to the circuit court. An indicated finding is a separate matter from any juvenile or criminal court proceeding. If you have been indicated by DCFS for child abuse or neglect, you have certain rights that The Law Office of Erin M. Wilson LLC has experience guiding clients through. This can be a scary and intimidating process with deadlines that cannot be missed.
Please contact The Law Office of Erin M. Wilson LLC for a consultation regarding a DCFS investigation or indicated finding to protect yourself and your family.