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DCF has taken my brothers kids from our home because of something he did when he was 10 years old. Is that legal?

Athol, MA |

One year ago, DCF first came and took the kids because of an anonymous 51-A filed. There was no warning, and they had the children for a whole month. Recently they came and said everything looked great and that my brother was doing well working a full time job and that the kids looked happy. Then recently my 16 year old sister wanted to see a therapist, so my parents set up an appointment. She told the therapist that she was cutting, and wanted to die. She said part of it is that when my brother was 10 and she was 4, he made her do some questionable things. She filed a 51-A, and now there are 2 cases open and they took the children again and said it will be for 6 months. How can we combat this? The caseworker only shows contempt for our whole family but has never even met us.

Attorney Answers 2

Posted

No. 1, get an attorney. No. 2, don't blame the therapist. He/she had no choice. No. 3, however the case worker acts, be agreeable and cooperative. Honey may not always work with DCF, but vinegar certainly does not. No. 4, if my math is right, this incident was 12 years ago. But given the other 51-A, whatever it alleges, and depending on depending on brother's course of therapy, if any, over the last 12 years, DCF has to be cautious and err on the side of protecting the kids. Whether it has to last 6 months because of a 12 yr. old incident, in light of the progress being made in another case, is a matter to be answered by working with DCF, and that is why you need an attorney experienced in working with them.

To questioners from West Virginia & New York: Although I am licensed to practice in your state, I practice on a day-to-day basis in Massachusetts. I answer questions in your state in areas of the law in which I practice, and in which I feel comfortable trying to offer you assistance based on my knowledge of specific statutes in your state and/or general principles applicable in all states. It is always best, however, to work with attorneys and court personnel in your own area to deal with specific problems and factual situations.

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Posted

These kind of cases are very complex, and of course, extremely difficult for the family. DCF is going to be overly cautious sometimes when they are concerned that a child is in danger. I agree with my colleague, the only way you can deal with this is to get an attorney who has substantial experience.

As far as whether it is legal, yes, it is legal. As far as whether it is sustainable, only a good attorney can help you answer that.

For a free consultation related to medical malpractice, personal injury, workers' compensation, social security disability or nursing home abuse, please contact Lowenthal & Abrams, PC at 1-800-876-5299. I am licensed in Pennsylvania, but members of my firm are licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. This post is not legal advice, but instead contains general educational information. Please do not act or refrain from acting based upon what you read in this post. Also please remember that this post does not form an attorney/client relationship between you and me. If you have specific legal questions, you should contact an attorney in your state for assistance. I am licensed to practice law in the state of Pennsylvania.

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