You are now involved with the Connecticut Department of
Children and Families, or DCF. Here are some guidelines to
preserve your rights:
1. Do not sign anything before I review it, other than DCF's notice that you been advised of your rights. My fax and e-mail are easily available, and documents can be reviewed without delay. If you sign something that I have not reviewed, then I cannot protect you. Do not listen to “It’s just routine.” It may indeed be routine for DCF, but that does not mean that it’s good for you.
2. Do not argue with DCF or service providers. It doesn’t matter if you are right or wrong. In real life, as opposed to movies and TV, arguments do not solve anything. If you call me with a problem, you will have a better chance of resolving it than by arguing with other people.
3. Do not make important agreements before reviewing them with me. It is surprising how many times you and DCF will disagree as to what you actually did agree to. It is so much easier if you get me to write up any significant agreements first. Otherwise, it’s just your word against theirs; and frankly, DCF wins most of those arguments.
4. Do not try to be your own lawyer, or take legal advice from non-lawyers. “Erin Brockovitch” is a movie, not real life. Law has too many interrelated elements for lay persons to do it correctly. Please, if you have an idea, discuss it with me. Other people mean well, but they are not lawyers. You would not see me if you had a toothache; so why see a doctor, teacher, social worker, police officer, accountant, probation officer, or neighbor if you have a legal problem ?
5. Do not discuss your case with others. It is a very human tendency to try to convince other people that you are right. Sadly, anything good that you say will be worthless hearsay, and the smallest bad thing will come back to haunt you. Please resist the temptation to convince other people.
6. Do not let people in your home without a warrant, or until you check with me. However, do bring your kids to the door, and allow DCF to see that they are ok. This does NOT give DCF the right to speak to the kids without your lawyer present. DCF has thousands of employees, and scores of lawyers; surely you are entitled to have one lawyer when dealing with them. Please give a copy of the DCF Client Wallet Card to any DCF Investigator who contacts you. Ask them to contact me right away.