Losing their children is every parent’s worst nightmare. For thousands of families that come under the watchful eye of the Connecticut Department of Children and Families, this fear turns into reality. Children can suffer irreparable damage when separated from loving, trustworthy caregivers, so it’s important to act fast to reunite your family.
1. Contact an Attorney
Before you contact anyone else or even give yourself the chance to cry, reach out to a family lawyer in Connecticut. The family court system is extremely complex and does not favor parents who have lost temporary custody of their children. If you try to navigate the process yourself or advocate on your own, you’re likely to get bogged down in bureaucracy, endless forms, and unnecessary delays.
2. Review Your Safety Plan
While signing a Safety Plan or Service Agreement without having a lawyer review it is not recommended, many families are pressured into doing so by DCF representatives. When DCF representatives believe that a family has failed to uphold their Safety Plan or Service Agreement, they may take steps to take temporary custody of children. If you signed one of these forms, find your copy immediately and provide it to your lawyer.
3. Jot Down Everything You Remember
Hours and days that pass without your children become a blur and important facts are quickly forgotten. Take a few minutes to write down everything about your communication with DCF. Write down as much detail as you remember, including dates, times, places, and specific things that were said. It’s particularly important to note any threats or warnings made by DCF. Again, make sure your lawyer has this information.
4. Request That Children Be Placed With Family Members
If you have family in the area who can care for your children, request that they care for your children until they are returned to you. Being separated from parents is a traumatic event for children, and it can cause even more lasting damage if they are placed with people they don’t know. Limit the damage by ensuring that children are with someone you and they trust.
5. Begin the Appeals Process
Now that you have a lawyer on board and you feel confident that your children will be safe until they return home, your lawyer can begin working on the appeals process. To get your children back from DCF, you may need to appeal their original decision to take custody. This often involves proving that you provide a safe, stable, and healthy home life. You may also need to prove that you have met all the standards in the Safety Plan or Service Agreement.
Our firm recently represented parents whose child was temporarily removed from their home based on misinformation provided to DCF by another family member. In the appeal process, we were able to present the real facts of the case, resulting in DCF dropping its finding of abuse and returning the child to his family.
DCF has an abundance of legal resources available to them, so you do not want to face them alone when your children’s custody is at stake. Reach out to the McConnell Family Law Group at 203-344-7007 or 860-266-1166, and we will help you begin finding peace through strength.