Child Abuse and Neglect
The Department of Child and Family Services has jurisdiction to investigate and report to the District Court or Juvenile Court cases involving child abuse and neglect. Abuse is frequently in the form of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse. Neglect involves not tending to the child’s needs.
If DCFS supports an initial finding of neglect or abuse, frequently they will recommend services for the offending parent. Parents have the right to challenge such findings before an administrative law judge. Frequently the findings of DCFS are used to support custody determinations made by District Courts. When the abuse is really bad, and the parent cannot be rehabilitated, a parent can have his or her parental rights terminated. Then the child is usually placed and adopted by either a family member or a willing third party.