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Being accused of child abuse or molestation will change your life forever. Allegations of abuse often come from school teachers, family members, and medical providers. These matters may be investigated by both the police department and the Department of Child Safety (DCS). CPS may take action, including the immediate removal of your children from their home, if certain criteria are met.
Everything you say and do while in contact with DCS is placed under scrutiny, with potentially catastrophic results. A “substantiated” finding of abuse can have adverse impact on your livelihood, future custody determinations, and may be the beginning of a process in which the Department seeks to permanently terminate your rights as a parent.
Sometimes, the allegation is not as straightforward as drug or physical abuse. In recent years, DCS has actively removed children from their homes for more complex issues, such as medical neglect and Munchausen-by-proxy abuse. Although DCS generally means well in efforts to “protect the best interests of children,” they do make mistakes among the thousands of cases they intake each month. A well-reasoned defense may help the court understand that there are legitimate medical explanations for what has been improperly identified as abuse.
DCS matters are among the most sensitive and complex in the practice of law. Unlike ordinary criminal defense, the burdens of evidence to support dependency and parental termination findings are much lower and, at times, the risks are greater.