What are Connecticut DCF Safety Plans? Simply put, it is a written agreement between DCF and a parent made during an Investigation. The DCF Social Worker will usually tell the parent or guardian to sign or they will be charged with Neglect or Abuse and summoned to Juvenile Court.
From a social worker’s perspective, Safety Plans are used so that parents are aware of what should be done (or not done) to ensure the child’s safety. Unfortunately, these “agreements” are presented to frantic, vulnerable parents who of course are terrified that their child will be removed and placed in foster care. Although the social worker will usually claim that a parent’s input is important, the reality is that DCF essentially dictates the terms of most Safety Plans.
Here’s what you need to know about a Safety Plan:
1. They are voluntary. That’s right – you are not required to sign one. You will typically hear that the form is “routine” or “it’s done all the time.” However, you can and sometimes should say no.
2. They are not binding. A Safety Plan is not a court order. It does not change custody or transfer guardianship – only a Juvenile Court judge can do so. Do NOT allow DCF to tell you otherwise. If you agree to have your children placed with a relative or the other parent you are fighting an uphill battle.
3. Always speak to a lawyer before signing a Safety Plan. Again, sometimes it makes sense to sign – other times not. Make sure that if you do sign, the terms are reasonable. Otherwise, if you fail to follow through, any non-compliance will be used as a basis for removing a child under a 96-hour hold or Order of Temporary Custody.
Should you sign any DCF Safety Plans?
I represent clients in Connecticut Family Court and Divorce proceedings though out Fairfield County including those who reside in Easton, Fairfield, Monroe, Trumbull, Stratford, Bridgeport, Westport, Weston, New Canaan, Wilton, Norwalk, Darien, Stamford and Greenwich.