In this article...
The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services is tasked with protecting children and minors in Illinois. The “mission statement” from Illinois DCFS states: “The mission of Illinois DCFS is to protect children who are reported to be abused or neglected and to increase their families’ capacity to safely care for them; provide for the well-being of children in our care; provide appropriate, permanent families as quickly as possible for those children who cannot safely return home; support early intervention and child abuse prevention activities and work in partnerships with communities to fulfill this mission.” Read on to learn from our Illinois appeals attorney to find out if you should appeal your indicated finding.
When a report is made to DCFS regarding child abuse, DCFS, through its investigators, will determine whether the report is credible. If, after an investigation, DCFS deems the report of child abuse or neglect credible, they will render a finding that the report was “indicated” against the adult person subject of the investigation. An “indicated” finding is DCFS’ version of “guilty,” similar to a rule found in criminal court proceedings. For more information on reporting abuse to DCFS read our article, How to Report Child Abuse or Neglect to the DCFS.
I Am “Indicated” For Child Abuse And/Or Neglect; What Do I Do?
If a person is found to be indicated for child abuse and/or neglect, this implies that a DCFS investigator performed an investigation for the report, and that investigation determined that there was credible evidence that a child was abused or neglected. Commonly, the person found indicated of abuse and/or neglect will receive a letter from DCFS explaining why that person was indicated.
Once found to be indicated, the person has certain rights that come from that finding, including but not limited to the following:
- The right to receive a copy of the investigative file and copies of the investigator’s notes;
- The right to request an appeal of the indicated finding (also referred to as an “expungement”) wherein the indicated adult can present evidence and cross-exam witnesses and investigators from DCFS who were involved in the investigation.
- The right to seek judicial review in Illinois state court of the DCFS finding of indicated. However, before seeking judicial review, a person seeking to challenge the indicated finding must first “appeal” the decision as noted above.
If a person seeks an appeal/expungement of the indicated finding, they must request, in writing, an appeal within 60 days of receiving the indicated finding from DCFS. If you have been falsely accused of child neglect read our article, False Allegations of Child Abuse in Illinois for more information.
What Happens If I Do Not Appeal Or Seek An Expungement Of My Indication?
If a person does not appeal the indicated finding, that “indication” will remain part of the Illinois State Central Register for five to 50 years. The information shared on the State Central Register is confidential and not a public record; meaning the general public does not have access to this information. However, employers and other organizations wherein employees or volunteers work directly with children will have access to this information. They will have the ability to perform searches on the State Central Register.
For more information about DCFS investigations and appeals, don't hesitate to get in touch with our skilled attorneys call our office at (630) 324-6666 to speak with one of our DCFS attorneys.
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