The DCFS (Department of Children and Family Services) is a governmental organization that conducts investigations of child abuse and/or neglect cases. Several states, including Illinois, have a DCFS agency. They have been involved in many high profile cases of alleged child abuse such as the Jerry Sandusky scandal at Penn State, as well as in the lives of hundreds of people we come into contact with every day. For someone who has just been investigated by DCFS, he may want to prepare himself for the many types of hearings a typical DCFS case will involve. The following provide a brief description of the several types of hearings to be expected following the initial investigation.
If you have been reported to DCFS for the abuse or neglect of your child, you will most likely be facing a lengthy series of court hearings. The very first hearing you will be required to attend, after a DCFS investigator has determined who will be granted temporary protective custody, is called a shelter care hearing. A shelter care hearing is an emergency hearing at which a judge will determine whether allowing the child to remain at home will present a danger to the child, and whether or not DCFS should take protective custody for an extended amount of time. The following describe what you should expect at a shelter care hearing.