Schaumburg Criminal Defense Attorneys
The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (“DCFS”) is responsible for monitoring child welfare in the State of Illinois. The organization is devoted to protecting the interests of children and their families, in addition to providing support for troubled parents or those with addictions, financial difficulty, or other issues that may affect their ability to raise a child. The DCFS may become involved when there are allegations that a child is being mistreated in the home. These allegations most frequently come from teachers, school counselors, childcare employees, or family friends, and are taken very seriously by the DCFS. If you have been contacted by DCFS and are concerned about protecting your child, you should contact an experienced Illinois DCFS defense attorney immediately.
Illinois Department of Children and Family Services: The Process
When it comes to the department’s attention that there is a possibility of abuse, neglect, malnutrition, or other negative factors potentially impacting a child’s life, they will conduct an investigation. There are numerous categorizations of vocational fields that are mandatory reporters—that is, they are actually required by law to report suspected child abuse. The reporter does not need to be certain that abuse is occurring, but is required to make the report if they have a reasonable suspicion. This is both to protect the well-being of the child and to provide support for families that may need additional assistance in providing for the well-being of the child.
Because a mandatory reporter does not need to be absolutely certain abuse is occurring before reporting, this can result in inaccuracies and mistakes. Though most would agree that it is better to file a report that turns out to be untrue than to fail to file a report that could have saved a child’s life, these mistakes can have detrimental effects on an innocent family. An allegation by the DCFS is extremely serious and may affect your rights to your child. When an allegation is commenced, the DCFS almost always will first try to offer services to the family to allow the child to remain in the home safely. Other extreme circumstances may warrant removal of the child from the home to a relative’s residence or a foster care facility.
What is Child Abuse and Neglect?
Child abuse and neglect can come from mistreatment of a minor from a parent, partner of a parent, relative, caretaker, or even sibling. It can come in the form of physical abuse, threatened physical abuse, sexual abuse, psychological abuse, malnourishment, failure to provide for needs, or otherwise failing to care for a child in a reasonable and humane manner.
Suspicions may arise at school or in similar contexts if a child has bruises, is consistently hungry or not dressed appropriately for weather conditions, is exhibiting behavioral problems, or if the child has otherwise said or done something that indicates abuse or neglect in the home. Some of these “red flags” may be completely innocent, but the DCFS may want to ensure that there are no significant financial or physical safety concerns in the home before dispensing with an allegation.
Unfortunately, baseless claims to the DCFS may have a negative impact on the child and family structure of the child. The child may be traumatized from unnecessary questioning or home removal, and the parents may be embarrassed by unfounded allegations. Though, of course, it is important to recognize the importance of the DCFS in protecting true abuse victims, it is also important not to let false allegations ruin the lives of the innocent families.
Cook County Child Abuse and Neglect Criminal Defense Attorneys
At Glasgow & Olsson, we understand that your first concern is always your child. Simple miscommunications and misunderstandings can turn into something more substantial that may forever interfere with the relationship you have with your children. Our skilled Schaumburg child abuse and neglect attorneys will work tirelessly on your behalf to keep your parental rights intact and do everything we can to advocate for both you and your child during this troubling time. The DCSF seeks to protect the interests of abused children—but if your children have not been abused, you have rights to maintain your family dynamic and be free from these devastating allegations. Contact our full-service Schaumburg, Illinois law office at 847.577.8700 to learn more about how to protect your family from baseless allegations.