What to Do if DCFS Indicates You

An Illinois couple’s marriage has been on the brink for years. Lately, they have been arguing more, and they have started arguing in front of their children. When the husband finally tells the wife he is filing for divorce, she becomes enraged and threatens to take the children away from him. She takes the children and flees to her mother's house. The next day, there is a knock at the husband’s door, and a Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) officer is asking to speak with him, telling him he has been indicated for suspected child abuse. His wife falsely claimed to DCFS that he physically abused his children to “punish” the wife. He will soon discover how powerful DCFS is in Illinois and how expensive it is to defend against a DCFS indication.

Being Indicated by DCFS Can be Incredibly Damaging

If DCFS has indicated you in Illinois, it means that they believe they have evidence that you have abused a child. DCFS will serve you with a notice of an indicated filing of child abuse or neglect. It is important to understand your rights, especially because DCFS is so powerful in Illinois. You have the right to obtain a copy of the investigative file against you. You also have the right to request an administrative “expungement” appeal hearing. Finally, you have the right to request that a court review your administrative appeal hearing.

The Consequences of Being Indicated by DCFS

Being indicated by DCFS has lasting consequences in Illinois. Illinois keeps a State Central Register (SCR), a database of people who have been indicated. Your name could remain in this database for five, 25, or 50 years, depending on the specific child abuse or neglect allegations. Even if you prove you are innocent, DCFS can keep your unfounded report in the system for up to three years, although your case will not be listed in the SCR.

Employers can access your SCR record. For example, suppose you are applying for a job in which you would work with people with disabilities and children. In that case, your potential employer would be able to access your case through the SCR. It will be difficult, if not impossible, for you to obtain employment in any job that involves working with children. If you are already working in a field with children or people with disabilities, your employer could terminate your position after your name becomes listed in the SCR.

Contact an Illinois DCFS Defense Lawyer

At Glasgow & Olsson, we have represented many clients who have been falsely accused of child abuse and neglect. We understand how devastating and socially stigmatizing being falsely accused of child abuse can be for our clients. We will provide you with solid legal defense at your hearing. If you lose at your hearing, we will appeal the decision. When you need an attorney, experience matters. Contact the award-winning criminal defense lawyers at Glasgow & Olsson today.

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