It 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.