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DCFS Case Timeline

Posted on in Child Custody

DuPage County family law attorneys, DCFS case timelineThe Illinois Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) handles all cases involving allegations of child abuse or neglect in the home. Any person can report suspected abuse or neglect to the DCFS, and they have the right to investigate the case in addition to removing a child from a home. Every child protection case in the state follows the same timeline, so you can know what to expect as the case moves forward. 

Within 48 Hours of Removal 

On the first day of a child protection case, emergency removal is used to take the child from the home by DCFS for his or her safety. Excluding weekends and holidays, within 48 hours of the removal a temporary custody hearing is held. The court decides whether there is probable cause, urgent and immediate necessity, and in the best interests of the child to place him or her in the custody of DCFS. 

An extended temporary custody hearing can also be held where the parents, attorneys, and caseworkers meet to discuss alternatives to removal, services, visitation and placement. However, if a judge decides that there is no probable cause, the case is dismissed and the child can be sent home.

Within 55 Days of Removal 

If the child is placed in the custody of the DCFS in Cook County, within 55 days of the removal a court family conference is held among the parents, attorneys, caseworkers, and the judge to discuss a case plan. In addition, the parents’ progress, the child’s progress, and what must be done before the child can be returned home are all finalized in this meeting.

Within 90-120 Days of Removal 

An adjudicatory hearing is held within 90 to 120 days after the removal of a child to determine whether in fact the child was abused or neglected in the home. This hearing is almost identical to a trial, where witnesses and evidence can be presented on both sides. If the court finds that the child was not abused or neglected, then the child can return home.

Within 120-150 Days of Removal

If the court found at the adjudicatory meeting that the child was abused or neglected, within 120 to 150 days after the removal a dispositional hearing is held to determine whether the child can be safely returned home with or without further supervision by the court.

If the court finds that the child can return home without supervision, the case is closed. If the court determines that supervision is necessary, the child is made a ward of the court and is returned home with a court order that dictates the progress reports and other requirements that must be fulfilled to keep the child. If the court determines that the child cannot be returned, then he or she is made a ward of the court and is placed back under DCFS guardianship. 

Call a DCFS Defense Attorney Today

If you or another family member has been accused of abusing or neglecting your child, it is imperative that you have an experienced DCFS defense attorney by your side. Call our office or contact us today for a free and confidential consultation of your case. Our DuPage County family law attorneys are experienced in this type of case and have a history of success defending clients in DCFS matters.

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