What is My Attorney’s Role in the Reunification Process? 

In Connecticut, similar to other states, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) is a state agency that was created to oversee services and programs involving child abuse and neglect, child welfare, foster care, and a long list of other issues. DCF is authorized to remove children from any situation in which they believe there is a danger to the child’s welfare, even if there is only a suspicion that something is wrong.

If you are a parent and your child has been removed from your home by DCF, it’s important that you understand that the law may not necessarily be on your side. At the same time, you have certain rights and a qualified attorney can place you in the best possible position during the reunification process.

How DCF Uses the Law to Its Advantage

Unfortunately, you don’t have to violate any laws for DCF to remove your children from your home. But the agency will sure make you feel as if you did.

And case managers don’t care what is in your best interests as a parent. They have the authority to do just about anything without your consent. They might even claim that you have to submit to things like a psychological evaluation or random drug screenings when a court has said no such thing.

Connecticut law grants parents involved in dependency actions the right to quick hearing dates and the right to defend their interests. Too many parents believe that a DCF investigation means they will lose their children for good. But, this isn’t the case at all. With the right plan and strong representation, you can get your children back through the reunification process.

What is the Reunification Process?

When your children have been temporarily placed in another’s care because of a DCF action, the goal is to bring get them back into the home. Called reunification, this is the legal process of getting the family safely back together, provided the courts see it as being in the child’s best interests.

Being involved with a DCF case like this can be incredibly stressful. You are sure to want your children back in the home from the minute they leave. But it may take some time and patience for this to happen. For the best chance of success, a seasoned DCF attorney can help pave the way for reunification as quickly and smoothly as possible.

What is My Attorney’s Role in the Reunification Process?

Connecticut DCF cases involve serious allegations of abuse and neglect. While the removal of your children from the home will be considered temporary, the agency can ask for the permanent termination of your parental rights, which is not something you can have reversed at a later date.

When DCF becomes involved in your life, your first instinct should be to protect your and your child’s rights in the best possible way. The earlier a DCF defense attorney can act on your behalf in an investigation, the more effective they can be in helping you keep or get back your children.

Your attorney will play some vital roles in the reunification process, making them an invaluable part of your overall legal strategy.

Compassionate Counselor 

Living without your children can be tough. You need an attorney who understands what you’re going through and who will give your case the care and attention it deserves. When you’re worried about an upcoming hearing or meeting with DCF or the court, your attorney can and should respond to your inquiries quickly and appropriately.

Fierce Advocate

Your attorney can be the strong voice that you may not have during these challenging times. You aren’t expected to know about Connecticut’s laws. But your lawyer certainly does. They will aggressively assert your rights throughout the reunification process so that you can avoid any unnecessary delays or expense and help you bring your children back home where they belong.

Voice of Reason

Finally, your attorney will be the voice of reason during what is sure to be an emotional process. They will represent your interests during hearings and make sure you understand what to expect when DCF conducts its final home interview before reunification. Your attorney will guide your words and actions so that you have the best chance for a positive case outcome.

Speak With an Experienced Connecticut DCF Attorney

If you have any questions about your Connecticut DCF matter or need help with the reunification process, we encourage you to contact The Christie Law Firm. At your initial consultation, we will ask you to outline your interactions with DCF and create a legal plan to help you accomplish your objectives. Call (860) 461-7494 or contact us online today.

Types of Guardianships

When an adult is unable to care for themselves or a child’s parents are unable to care for the child, guardianship may be necessary to provide that guidance. But there are several different types of guardianship that might be used. Here is what you need know, and some particular information about guardianships as they apply to DCF cases.

What Is Legal Guardianship?

Guardianship refers to another party being granted the legal authority to make decisions on behalf of a certain person, such as a child or parent. The “guardian” is the person the court appoints to make decisions on behalf of someone else. The “protected person” is the person over whom the guardianship has been granted by the courts.

The Purpose of Guardianship

Adults have the legal right to make their own decisions, and parents normally have the legal right to make decisions for their children. When this isn’t possible for various reasons, another party may need to step in to make these choices.

A guardianship may be needed over an adult if that person becomes incapacitated, meaning they are no longer able to care for themselves due to disease, mental illness, or mental incapacity. A guardianship may be needed over a child if the responsible parent isn’t available to make choices due to death, incapacity, or some other issue.

The Different Types of Guardianships

If you believe a person needs someone else to oversee their care, you and your attorney will need to decide which type of guardianship is appropriate. In Connecticut, there are several different types of guardianships possible:

Parents as Guardians

There is a legal presumption that both parents are to act as guardians of a minor child unless the courts state otherwise.

Temporary Guardians

A temporary guardian can be appointed by the court for no longer than a period of one year if a parent is unable to care for a child for any reason.

Permanent Guardians

If the court finds that it is in the best interests of the child, it can appoint a permanent guardian, which cannot be revoked,

Standby Guardians

A parent or guardian can designate a standby guardian of a minor to act in the event that the parent or primary guardian is unable to perform due to any specified contingencies.


If a minor doesn’t have a parent or guardian, an interested party, such as a relative, can ask the court to appoint co-guardians.

Guardian of the Estate

A guardian of the estate of a minor will control the property and assets of a minor. This is different than guardianship of a person.

How Guardianships Are Used in Connecticut DCF Cases

If you are the subject of an investigation by the Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF), there’s a chance that guardianship might become part of the equation. Once DCF receives notice of reported abuse or neglect, they are obligated to begin an investigation quickly.

A DCF agent will likely come to your home, request to interview your child, and even contact other interested parties such as teachers or your child’s other parent. If DCF feels that your child is in immediate danger, they can remove them from the home temporarily. DCF also has the right to petition the court for guardianship, meaning you will no longer be able to make decisions for your child.

In Connecticut DCF cases, there are three types of guardianships:

  • Straight transfer of guardianship— Guardianship is transferred to a designated party without any additional follow-up by DCF or the courts after the ruling.
  • Subsidized guardianship— The named guardian is a licensed foster care provider who receives a state subsidy to help with the child’s care.
  • Permanent guardianship— The guardian is awarded this status permanently, which generally coincides with the termination of parental rights.

As you can see, no guardianship is ideal. But you want to avoid permanent guardianship for your child. As soon as you know that DCF will be involved in your life, it’s in your best interests to speak with a knowledgeable attorney.

Speak With an Experienced Connecticut DCF and Guardianship Attorney

If you live in Connecticut and the court has ordered guardianship for your child because of a DCF investigation, it’s important that you speak with a qualified DCF lawyer as soon as possible. While this type of guardianship is meant to be temporary, DCF has the right to ask the court to terminate your parental rights if they feel there is justification.

Even though a guardian has been assigned and your child isn’t living in your home, you still retain parental rights. At this point, you should be working diligently towards reunification, which is something The Christie Law Firm can help facilitate. We specialize in handling these types of DCF cases and encourage you to reach out to us to find out how we can help. Call (860) 461-7494 or contact us online to schedule a confidential initial consultation.

What to Look for in a Connecticut DCF Law Firm

Investigations of parents and legal guardians by the Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF) for allegations of child abuse or neglect are a serious matter that can have lasting and significant impacts on the lives of you and your children. Too many parents downplay the gravity of their situation or are under the false assumption that DCF agents will quickly investigate and close their case without any findings of fault.

When the DCF becomes involved, many parents are shocked to learn the seriousness of what is at stake only after DCF has completed its preliminary investigation and filed a neglect petition with a request that a child be removed from the home. The agency has the right to make many recommendations, most of which interfere with your parental rights and your relationship with your child.

But you have legal rights throughout this process, not just when DCF makes things uncomfortable. We recommend that you hire an experienced Connecticut DCF attorney as soon as you learn that the agency has you in its sights. Once you decide to hire an attorney, now you to ask, “How do I know which DCF attorney is best for me?” While our law firm provides this important service, you have many options. Here is what you should look for when you hire a qualified DCF defense attorney.

  1. Choose Someone Who Will Fight for Your Interests

Our law firm understands that the stakes are incredibly high when you are dealing with the Connecticut DCF. Whoever you hire must have an sense of urgency equal to yours. The agency might have removed your children from your home or made threats to do so. This is never something to be taken lightly.

When DCF becomes a fixture in your life, you need the strongest advocate possible. Ideally, that advocate would have worked for DCF in the past and will have a thorough understanding of the agency’s procedures as well as the laws they must adhere to.

Your attorney will not only understand the mechanics of the law, but also the reasoning behind the actions that DCF agents take. With this understanding, your attorney will be in the best position possible to build a strong case for your defense and advocate for your rights and your children’s rights.

  1. Hire an Attorney Who Is Honest With You

Some attorneys might tell you what you want to hear. But, in the end, this won’t do you or your children much good if the outcome of your case isn’t positive.

We believe that the best policy is to tell our clients the truth about their situation and how best to address the issue they are facing. We let you know the strengths and weaknesses of your case and then work together to find solutions. In the end, the goal is to get DCF out of your life and/or have your children returned to the home as quickly as possible.

  1. Find a Lawyer Who Listens to You

If your attorney isn’t listening to you, find someone another attorney. Our DCF defense attorney makes it a point to listen to every client so that they feel heard and understood. For us to completely understand your situation, it is imperative that we listen to everything you have to share about your children and the environment you have created for them at home.

That said, we also listen to what DCF has to say so that we can understand their goals and use that information to our client’s advantage. Once we have a full picture of the situation, we can form a unique strategy to bring a case to a successful conclusion. With our law firm, that strategy is put into a written case plan with action items for the attorney as well as the parent/s.

  1. Choose a Lawyer With a Winning Team

Running a law firm and fighting DCF on behalf of parents and their children is a challenging endeavor. It is virtually impossible for one person to successfully bring about a positive outcome by themselves. The Christie Law Firm brings an experienced legal team to your case that includes a focused and driven Connecticut DCF attorney, a paralegal, a legal assistant, and a social worker who formerly worked for DCF, creating a cohesive team that works diligently on behalf of clients.

  1. Look for a DCF Lawyer With Positive Results

At the end of the day, you are looking for results from the law firm you hire. Fortunately, you can research attorneys and law firms online to investigate their past results and find out about other people’s experiences with them before you make a decision to hire them.

A great place to start is Google Reviews and Facebook Reviews. You can also check the firm’s website for testimonials. The Christie Law firm is proud of the positive feedback it has earned from prior clients.

If you need to hire an experienced Connecticut DCF attorney, The Christie Law Firm has years of experience in these types of matters. Call our office today at (860) 461-7494 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation.