Having DCS knock on your door is an unimaginable experience. Even more unimaginable is losing your children due to false allegations of abuse or neglect. If you are in this position, it is paramount that you know your rights and freedoms and take the steps necessary to protect your family from undue harm.
At the Law Office of Justin Fernstrom PLLC, we are passionate about defending the rights of parents. Our team of Phoenix DCS defense attorneys have the knowledge and experience necessary to respond to DCS allegations and advocate on your behalf. To discuss your situation and next steps in detail, consider scheduling a consultation with us at (602) 560-7494 today.
What Are Some Common Allegations Made by DCS?
The main goal of the Arizona Department of Child Safety (DCS) is to protect children. To fulfill this goal, DCS investigates reports of abuse, oversees the adoption process, and provides a variety of services to ensure that children have a safe and stable home. At first glance, this mission is a necessary and respectable one.
After digging deeper, however, it becomes apparent that DCS often acts on misguided allegations. Some of the most common allegations made by DCS include:
- Physical violence, including domestic violence
- Sexual abuse
- Illegal drug use
- Abandonment and/or neglect
- Unsafe environment
- Inadequate care
- Emotional abuse
If DCS has made false allegations against you and your family, you are not alone. Unfounded allegations are common, especially for parents in the midst of tense custody disputes. Sometimes, these reports come from well-meaning individuals who misinterpret the situation. Regardless, it is important to seek support and guidance to safeguard your interests and protect your family.
When Should I Consider Seeking DCS Defense Representation?
If you are the victim of false allegations – whether brought about by a well-intentioned source, a bitter ex-spouse, or anything in between – it is important to seek DCS defense representation as soon as possible. In Arizona, DCS only needs to find probable cause to determine that abuse or neglect occurred.
Based on this standard, as long as DCS gathers enough evidence that would lead a reasonable person to believe that abuse or neglect occurred, they have the right to substantiate a report. Seeking DCS defense representation as soon as you are made aware of the report is key to exercising your rights as a parent, successfully navigating a DCS investigation, and fighting back against allegations of abuse or neglect.
What Are the Advantages of Hiring a DCS Defense Attorney?
If you are facing allegations of child abuse or neglect, hiring a DCS defense attorney is key to ensuring your rights and freedoms are protected. An attorney will provide detailed legal advice tailored to the unique circumstances of your case. At the Law Office of Justin Fernstrom PLLC, we proactively handle every DCS defense case, taking the time to review your situation, understand your family’s background, and build a case that honors your character.
When you hire our team of experienced attorneys, you can rest assured that we will advocate on your behalf at every step of the process. Our comprehensive and compassionate services include:
- Responding to reports of abuse or neglect.
- Navigating all phases of the investigation process.
- Gathering all evidence to prove your innocence according to the rules, regulations, and standards of Arizona law.
- Appealing a substantiated finding and corresponding with the Protective Services Review Team.
- Representing you in all Arizona Office of Administrative Hearings.
- Filing a complaint with the Arizona Office of the Ombudsman regarding unfair practices by DCS.
- Protecting you and your family during dependency hearings.
When you hire a DCS defense attorney, you are taking action to protect your rights, advocate for your innocence, and keep your family together. Navigating a DCS investigation is stressful and overwhelming; having a legal team in your corner can make all the difference.
What Evidence Should I Gather to Support My Defense?
Every case is unique and the evidence you gather to support your defense will vary depending on the dynamic of your family, your child’s needs and interests, and the nature of the investigation. Various forms of evidence can be used to support your case, including:
- Witness reports
- Expert testimonies.
- Interviews with individuals close to the child
- School report cards, attendance reports, and important communications between yourself and your child’s teachers
- Documentation of your child’s participation in extracurricular activities
- Pediatrician records
- Criminal records of yourself and your co-parent, if applicable
- Drug tests
- Photographs of your house, the outside, and any play area for your child
Are There Alternatives to Going to Court in DCS Cases?
In certain situations, you may be required to go to court in a DCS case. For instance, if the state petitions to remove your child from your custody – known as a dependency proceeding – you will be required to attend court. Likewise, if you are convicted of child abuse, you may face criminal charges. To avoid going to court in a DCS case, it is important to be proactive and take the steps necessary to fight the false allegations before they spiral out of control.
Building Your DCS Defense Strategy
With the proper defense strategy in place, you can fight back against DCS by gathering key evidence to disprove their claims, arrange your testimony, identify witnesses to defend your case, and effectively cross-examine witnesses. Your DCS defense attorney will work with you to identify the right strategy to protect your rights and ensure a successful outcome for your case.
Hire an Experienced DCS Defense Attorney to Help You Fight the Department of Child Safety & Do What You Need to Do to Get Your Kids Back
Whether you are in the midst of a DCS investigation or are fighting to get your kids back home, you are likely facing a complex emotional struggle that has left you unsure of where to turn for help. At the Law Office of Justin Fernstrom PLLC, we are passionate about defending the rights of Arizona parents. Our team of experienced DCS defense attorneys will review your case, build your DCS defense strategy, and do what it takes to bring your children home. To learn more about how we can help, consider scheduling a consultation at (602) 560-7494 today.