You’re in a new home in a new city with a new babysitter. Although there’s absolutely nothing in the fridge that was just delivered, your children have eaten well, but the only proof of that is in their tummies. The well intentioned babysitter advises DHS of her nutritional concerns regarding your children, and you’ve been wrongfully accused of child neglect. The investigation unfolds.
A DHS representative will ordinarily schedule a home visit after taking a report that falls within the purview of their responsibilities. He or she will evaluate the children’s’ dress, grooming, overall visible health and nutrition, and possibly interview them. The investigator might also want to see your kitchen. Assuming there’s food in the fridge now and cabinets are starting to get stocked, there’s probably nothing to worry about. The DHS representative probably has a family too, and they’ve also moved. They realize that it takes time to restore normal life in a new home.
Most child neglect complaints are unfounded. If you’ve been wrongfully accused of child neglect and the complaint is unfounded, you’ll receive a letter from DHS indicating so. The case is now closed. Go on with your life and your family.
If a complaint is founded, some type of a safety plan will be implemented for the children. That plan must be followed. As you’re entitled to a hearing on any findings, you’ll be notified of the date, time and location of the hearing. You have the right to have an attorney present on your behalf. An impartial hearing officer will hear all witnesses on both sides of the case. You or your attorney have the right bring any witnesses on your own behalf and the right to cross examine any witnesses against you. A written decision is then forwarded to the parties.
There are very serious cases out there. That fact that there was no food in your fridge doesn’t make your case one of those. Child neglect in the form of malnourished children does exist, and its the duty of DHS to follow up on any such allegations directed at you. The fact that they did follow up on those allegations doesn’t make you a bad parent. It doesn’t make the babysitter a bad babysitter either.
If you’ve been wrongfully accused of child neglect, contact a Seal Beach Family Law Attorney today by calling 562-431-4333 or by filling out our contact form online. We can get you the help you need and the representation you deserve.