What Happens if My DCFS Case Goes to Juvenile Court?

March 9, 2020

If you’ve been notified that the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) is investigating your family, it can be a very distressing time. What’s worse is when DCFS transfers your case to juvenile court, as that means they are either attempting to remove your children from the home, keep them away from your home or enact and continue court-ordered parenting supervision. Anytime DCFS is involved, you must act quickly to retain a qualified DCFS defense attorney in Rockford, IL—they will be able to guide you through the case and fight to ensure your children remain in your home.

What does DCFS do?

DCFS is designed to protect children from abuse and neglect, as well as parents who can’t properly care for their children, even if that isn’t their fault. While the agency doesn’t want to separate parents and children, that can happen if the juvenile court determines the parents are unfit. When you have been “indicated” in a DCFS case, your name is placed on a state registry of other parents or caregivers who have committed offenses, which is why it’s crucial to hire an attorney as soon as possible.

What happens if my case goes to juvenile court?

Generally, state attorneys will make the determination as to whether a DCFS case can go to court, although any adult can file a petition to do so. In fact, sometimes one parent will file against the other parent to prevent the abusive or neglectful parent from having contact with the child.

DCFS must take the case to juvenile court anytime they are attempting to remove a child from the home, either temporarily or permanently. While they need a court order to do so, they can remove a child first and apply for the court order within 48 hours when necessary.

Juvenile cases can result in the permanent loss of parental rights if there is a finding of abuse, neglect or that the parents do not, will not or are not able to properly care for their child. Hearings can include whether your child should be removed from your home, stay away from your home or whether your child can be returned into your care. Although a lawyer isn’t required, it’s highly recommended that you hire one, given what’s at stake if the state finds against you. If you can’t afford an attorney, a public defender will be appointed, but it’s important to keep in mind that public defenders in many areas are currently shouldering immense caseloads.

You will likely be advised to cooperate with the investigation as much as possible, including attending any court-ordered classes and allowing and cooperating with all assessments. The court will be evaluating your conduct and the circumstances on a holistic basis rather than a single incident.

Hire a DCFS defense attorney in Rockford, IL

The Law Office of Brendan W. Caver, Ltd. specializes in DCFS defense, and will fight zealously to protect your rights as a parent. Call today to set up a consultation, and rest easy knowing you have experience and compassion on your side.

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