What can I do if I disagree with the Department of Children and Families?

Produced by Massachusetts law Reform Institute
Created February, 2021

Fair Hearing

You can ask the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to change their decision by asking for a Fair Hearing. Ask for a Fair Hearing if:

Asking DCF to change their decision is called "appealing" the decision. You need to ask for a Fair Hearing when you appeal. See What is a Fair Hearing?

Grievance Process

You can use DCF’s "Grievance Process" for other kinds of complaints, like

  • The conduct of a DCF employee, or
  • Your Action Plan.

See I have a problem with the Department of Children and Families (DCF) but I cannot get a fair hearing.

DCF Office of the Ombudsman

DCF has an "Office of the Ombudsman." An “ombudsman” is a person who looks into complaints. The DCF Office of the Ombudsman helps parents who feel DCF treated them unfairly. If you tried to solve a problem with your local DCF office and you are still unhappy, staff at the Ombudsman's Office can work with you and your local DCF office to solve problems. Their phone number is (617) 748-2444.

You do not get along with your worker

See What can I do if I cannot get along with my DCF worker?

Find Legal Aid

You may be able to get free legal help from your local legal aid program. Or email a question about your own legal problem to a lawyer.

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