Dependency proceedings are often initiated when the Department of Children and Families (DCF) believe that a parent(s) has abused, neglected, and/or abandoned their child. Dependency proceedings often result in parents being separated from their children. It is a traumatic experience for parents and children and can last for months or even years.
Most of the time the goal of Dependency court is to reunify the parents and child. After the children are initially removed from the home DCF will develop some type of case plan for services that the parent must complete before they can be reunified with their child. As a parent you have the option to consent to the Dependency of your child and agree to the case plan, or fight the allegations and force DCF to prove their allegations at an adjudicatory hearing. Whether or not you consent or fight the allegations is an important decision that should be made after careful consideration.
DCF may also attempt to initiate Termination of Parental Rights (TPR) proceedings against the parent(s). TPR petitions can result in a failure of the parents to complete their case plans, or from initial allegations that are so severe that DCF believes it is too dangerous for the child to ever return to the custody of the parents.
Whether Dependency proceedings have been initiated against you or whether DCF has filed a TPR petition against you, it is important that you speak with an attorney experienced in handling each facet of your dependency case. Call the Law Office of James Janousek, P.A. today to learn more about your rights as a parent.