What to Expect
When DCFS receives a call on our Child Protection Hotline, we determine if the report meets the requirements of an investigation according to the law. If it does, a thorough investigation will be conducted to assess child safety and ensure the well-being of every child in the family. Within 5 days, a social worker will visit your home and determine whether you can safely stay in your home during the investigation.
A report being filed does not necessarily mean that you will be removed from your home. However, if it is not possible for you to remain in your home during the investigation, the social worker may work with your parents to develop a plan for you to temporarily stay with a relative or family friend for a short period of time while the investigation continues.
Over the next 30 days or less, the social worker will investigate your situation to determine whether or not a case should be opened. They will:
- Review your family’s history with DCFS
- Contact the reporter of the concern
- Conduct home visits
- Interview all parties involved, including the parents, children, siblings, and other adults in the home to assess child safety
If the investigation is unfounded:
If no credible evidence of mistreatment or neglect is found, your parents or guardians may choose to participate in voluntary support services with a community organization that are designed to help your family overcome struggles and maintain stability. The investigation will then be closed.
If the investigation finds credible evidence:
If there is evidence of mistreatment or neglect, a DCFS social worker will be assigned to you. Depending on the severity of the situation, a case may be opened with the Los Angeles County Juvenile Dependency Court, or DCFS may open a voluntary case without court involvement.
At that point, your case will fall into one of two categories:
You will remain at home with one or both parents, however you may be court-mandated to complete required trainings or services. DCFS will work with your parents to develop a prevention plan and connect your family with support services.
You will be temporarily placed out-of-home, either in foster care or with a relative caregiver. DCFS will then work with your parents to develop a reunification plan so that they can work toward being reunited with you.