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IL family lawyerDomestic violence and abuse affect the lives of millions of individuals each year in the U.S. It is estimated that 125,000 children a year are neglected or abused in Illinois. While these statistics are shocking and child abuse is a very real concern in Illinois, not every accusation of abuse is founded on truth. Misunderstandings, discipline, or exaggerated stories may lead to accusations of abuse. Some individuals even fabricate stories of abuse to gain an advantage in child custody proceedings. If you were accused of child abuse, it is important to know your rights as well as what to expect.

Department of Children and Family Services Investigations

If you are accused of abusing your child, you may be contacted by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). Keep in mind, this organization must take every allegation of abuse seriously. This often means launching a formal investigation into the circumstances of any alleged abuse. A DCFS investigator may visit your home, interview you and other household members, and ask your child questions about the alleged abuse. The investigator may also speak with your child’s teachers, doctors, or other important figures in the child’s life. The DCFS has 60 days to complete the investigation. If the DCFS believes that the child is in immediate danger, the organization does have the authority to remove the child from the home and place him or her into protective custody.

How to Assert Your Rights After Being Falsely Accused of Hurting Your Child

If you have been accused of intentionally harming your own child, you may understandably be offended and angered by this horrible accusation. However, it is important to cooperate with the DCFS investigation. Remain calm and respectful. Answer the investigator’s questions honestly but keep in mind that anything you do or say can be used against you. Most importantly, work with a skilled family law attorney. Your lawyer can help you prepare for the investigation and take the steps that will give you a better chance at a favorable outcome.

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DuPage County DCFS attorneyChild abuse and neglect is a sensitive topic that can often be misunderstood. These situations go much deeper than just physical abuse or harm done by neglectful parents. There are a variety of caretakers that can be involved in child neglect or abuse cases, including a parent or romantic partner, an immediate relative, someone living at home, a caretaker, educators, coaches, or anyone else who is responsible for the child’s welfare. According to the Illinois Department of Children & Family Services (DCFS), over 70 percent of child abuse goes unreported, and on average, abused or neglected children voice their situation to seven adults before an official report is made.

What Is Considered Neglect or Abuse?

Child neglect and abuse are two different forms of mistreatment. Child neglect is the failure of a parent to meet minimal parenting standards. This includes providing proper supervision, medical care, food, clothing, shelter, and other basic needs. Child abuse occurs when a child is mistreated directly, and it can be broken down into three different categories: physical, sexual, or mental (emotional or psychological) abuse. Often, children who live in abusive households experience multiple forms of abuse. 

An Obligation to Report

Reporting child abuse is a stressful societal obligation that is required of anyone who suspects that it is occurring. Many feel as if a child’s home life is none of their business; however, it is important to the child’s life and safety to have an advocate. Those who suspect that a child may be enduring neglect or abuse should contact DCFS immediately. 

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Illinois State Bar Association DuPage County Bar Association Northwest Suburban Bar Association American Inns of Court DuPage Association of Woman Lawyers National Association of Woman Business Owners Illinois Association Criminal Defense Lawyers DuPage County Criminal Defense Lawyers Association
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