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DuPage County DCFS hearing attorneys, child abuse, child neglectIt is every parent’s worst nightmare: you receive a knock on the door and the Illinois Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) is there to investigate a call of child abuse and neglect. In order to protect children, DCFS takes reports of suspected child abuse and neglect very seriously and will investigate any credible reports. However, just because DCFS is called does not necessarily mean that there is abuse or neglect taking place. Still, it is their job to investigate credible reports. If you are accused of child abuse or neglect, you should contact a knowledgeable DCFS hearing attorney

Definition of Child Abuse

The Illinois Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act defines child abuse as when a parent, immediate family member, anyone else residing in the house with the child, or any person who is responsible for the welfare of the child inflicts physical injury on a child or allows physical injury to be inflicted on a child. This injury must cause death, disfigurement, loss of a body part, impairment of a body part, or impairment of physical or emotional health. There is a specific exception in the statute for accidents. It is also child abuse to create a substantial risk of these kinds of injuries happening to a child. Child abuse also includes excessive corporal punishment.

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DuPage County child Custody attorneysIt is every parent’s worst nightmare: a knock on the door and an investigation by the Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) accusing you of child abuse. Even parents that have nothing to hide and have not mistreated their children at all still fear that a wrongful allegation will have ongoing consequences. Hopefully, at the end of the day, the truth will win, but it is important to have some idea of the process to know what you are up against.

Someone Calls DCFS

The Illinois Department of Child and Family Services is the agency that is responsible for investigating claims of child abuse and neglect. DCFS has a hotline that anyone can call to report suspected abuse or neglect of children. There are also people called “mandated reporters”, such as doctors and teachers, that are required by law to inform DCFS if they have any suspicion of child abuse.

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DuPage County family lawyers, protective order basicsHuman relationships are complex. Unfortunately, these same relationships can become abusive. Abuse can become more intense if a couple decides to divorce or separate. When this happens, it can be difficult to know what to do in order to protect you and your family. This is particularly true when children are the victims of the abuse. The Illinois Domestic Violence Act (IDVA) specifically forbids a family member or members of the same household from abusing others in their home.

The IDVA defines abuse as:

  • Physical abuse;
  • Harassment;
  • Intimidating a dependent; and/or
  • Willful deprivation.

You Can Take Action

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DuPage County family law attorney, children and family servicesWhen the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services knocks on your door, you should take the process seriously, whether or not you believe they have a right to take action against you or not.

In Illinois, DCFS is responsible for the protection of children across the state. Therefore, they have the authority to thoroughly investigate anyone suspected of abusing or neglecting children. Child abuse, as broadly defined by Illinois law, is the mistreatment of a child under the age of majority, which is 18, by a parent, intimate partner, immediate relative, roommate (even if unrelated), caretakers (babysitters, daycare workers), educators, coaches, and even youth volunteers.

Understanding Child Abuse or Neglect

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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. 

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Abraham Lincoln A lawyer’s time and advice are his stock and trade. -Abraham Lincoln
Davi Law Group, LLC handles family law, estate planning and real estate matters for clients in Chicago and throughout the western suburbs including DuPage County, Will County, Kane County, Kendall County and Cook County and the cities of Aurora, Bloomingdale, Bolingbrook, Carol Stream, Darien, Downers Grove, Elmhurst, Geneva, Glen Ellyn, Hinsdale, Joliet, Kendall County, Lisle, Lombard, Naperville, Oak Park, Oak Brook, Oswego, Park Ridge, Roselle, St. Charles, Villa Park, Warrenville, Wheaton, Winfield, Woodridge and Yorkville, Illinois.
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