Monday, December 19, 2011

When to Involve the Department of Children and Families

Child abuse or neglect are serious matters that need to be addressed immediately. Unfortunately, many parents fail to take appropriate steps towards ensuring that suspicions of child abuse or neglect are addressed, either due to fear that doing so will cause additional harm to the child or that it will place their own parenting into question.

What many people don't realize is that the failure to take any action following an allegation of abuse or neglect is itself considered neglect. If, at a later date, it is discovered that a party ignored allegations or signs of harm to the child, that parent may lose custody or visitation and themselves become the subject of a DCF (Department of Children and Families) investigation.

The appropriate thing to do when you suspect that your child has been abused or neglected by the other parent or someone selected by the parent to care for the child is to alert the appropriate agencies and take the child to his/her primary care physician for a check-up. Although a child's doctors and teachers are mandated reporters, they don't always contact DCF. Therefore, follow-up with your child's doctors and teachers and ensure that someone contacts DCF. An allegation of abuse or neglect needs to be screened before a formal investigation is commenced, and the party being investigated will have an opportunity to respond to allegations.

For more information about the importance of being proactive and contacting the appropriate agencies, please visit the DCF website and read the following article from the Boston Globe.

(c) 2014 The Law Office of Leila J. Wons. The information contained herein is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship and does not constitute legal advice.
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