The Arizona Department of Child Safety (DCS) has an obligation to investigate any claims of child neglect, abandonment or reports of a child being injured perhaps at the hands of a parent. Oftentimes, parents will return home from work and find a card on their door asking them to be in contact with a caseworker. These notices should never be ignored as it can send the wrong message to DCS, but it is important that you contact an attorney to find out what your rights are.
Protecting Parent and Grandparents Rights
Even if you believe that DCS will find nothing amiss after conducting a home visit and interviewing your children, it is still important to make sure that you have legal representation. In the event the investigation goes against the parent, oftentimes grandparents can intervene and provide temporary care for the child or children until the full investigation is conducted. However, if you have not hired a family law attorney to assist you with these matters, chances are if there is a negative determination, your child could wind up in the foster care system.
When a Caseworker Arrives Without Notice
Should you have a visit from a DCS worker in your home, before you answer any questions, let them know that you will fully cooperate with their investigation but that you would prefer to answer their questions with your attorney present. You have the right to have an attorney with you when being questioned by DCS and to represent your interests during the entire process.
When Claims are Filed Falsely
Unfortunately, disputes with family members, ex-partners and even angry neighbors or coworkers can result in anonymous calls to DCS accusing you of neglect or battering your child. While these claims may be false, you still need to make sure that you speak with an attorney before you answer any questions posed by DCS. This is important as a seemingly innocent comment could be turned around and used against you in later hearings or in final reports.
Parents and grandparents have specific rights granted to them when it comes to their children and grandchildren. Even if an investigation results in a negative outcome, parents and grandparents still have the right to have contact with the child pending the final disposition of the courts.
Whether you have received a telephone call or other notification that you are being investigated for allegations of abuse or neglect, contact Ortega & Ortega, PLLC immediately at 602-368-1074. We help protect the rights of parents and grandparents when DCS is investigating a family.