The Department of Children and Families (DCF) is the state agency responsible for protecting children and helping troubled families. DCF does the following:
- Receives and 'screens' reports of suspected child abuse or neglect.
See How does the Department of Children and Families find out about child abuse and neglect?
- Investigates reports that a child may be at risk of abuse or neglect.
See What does the Department of Children and Families (DCF) do when they get a 51A report?
- Handles appeals of their decisions.
See What can I do if I disagree with the Department of Children and Families?
- Provides services to help families in trouble.
- Takes children into custody if ordered by a judge:
- In a Children Requiring Assistance case if your child does not show up for a Preliminary Hearing.
- DCF can also ask you to agree to do certain things if you want to keep your child in your home. DCF calls this agreement an 'action plan' or a 'service plan.'
See What if DCF opens a case for my family?
- Goes to Court to get permission to remove children from their home if DCF believes the children are at risk of abuse or neglect. See Can DCF take my child?
- Has specialists that deal with:
- domestic violence,
- mental health,
- medical issues,
- substance abuse,
- sexual abuse,
- housing, and
- adolescent outreach.
- Keeps records of their involvement with families.
- Is also a licensed child placement agency and can place children in foster care, voluntarily or through a court order.
- Arranges for the adoption of children.