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How to handle a DCFS investigation

A Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) investigation can be terrifying for both you and your children. Even if you haven't done anything wrong, the intrusion on your life can feel overwhelming. Plus, there's always the worry that your children are going to be torn away from their home and thrown into foster care until the investigation is over.

If you're uncertain what to do, here are some suggestions:

1. Stay calm.

Reacting with anger or frustration could play into whatever negative beliefs the DCFS investigator may already have about you, so work overtime keeping your emotions in check.

2. Keep quiet.

You may feel that the DCFS investigator is just fishing around for information to use against you -- and you're probably right. Whatever you keep to yourself at the moment can't be used against you later -- but anything you do say is potential evidence in court. Ask questions about the allegations against you and the DCFS process, but don't give any information to the investigator that they don't ask for.

3. Listen carefully.

In fact, you should probably do a lot more listening than talking. DCFS may not tell you much about the allegations against you, but you may be able to tell where they're coming from just by listening. Some allegations come from mandatory reporters, like doctors or teachers, but many come from angry relatives and the like -- especially when a family dispute has bubbled over.

4. Call an attorney.

Don't fool yourself into believing that you can handle this issue on your own. You may not know the full extent of your rights in this situation, let alone how to assert them. Our office has experience with DCFS investigations and can help you navigate these treacherous waters. Give us a call or contact us today to discuss your case.

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