Attorney Eric D. Puryear

The Interplay Between Criminal Charges, DHS/DCFS Reports, Custody Cases, and Juvenile Abuse/Neglect Cases

Puryear Law » Legal Blog » Criminal Law in General » The Interplay Between Criminal Charges, DHS/DCFS Reports, Custody Cases, and Juvenile Abuse/Neglect Cases

A person who is charged with a crime relating to child abuse will often find themselves also facing a DHS or DCFS child abuse report, a custody case, and/or a juvenile abuse/neglect case. That is because the same accusation that brings about one case can serve as the legal basis for the other case or cases.


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An example of one allegation leading to many cases

As an example, a person could be accused of domestic violence involving a former partner with whom they have a child, with the allegation saying that the child was present at the time of the alleged violence.  That could lead to a protective order case being filed by the former partner, and a DHS/DCFS report for child endangerment.  The state could also file domestic abuse criminal charges.  The former partner could also seek a change in child custody, using the same alleged incident as a basis for that change.  If the state believed that the child was in danger, it could also bring a juvenile abuse/neglect case (in Illinois) or a Child in Need of Assistance case in Iowa.

Handling such a situation with multiple cases


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It is important to properly handle a situation that leads to multiple cases, as any action in one case can have a profound impact upon the other cases.  For example, a finding of child abuse that is not overturned upon appeal in a DHS or DCFS can give a person’s ex an advantage in a custody case.  Similarly, a criminal conviction for child endangerment can result in a person losing the ability to appeal a DHS or DCFS founded child abuse assessment on the same underlying facts.

On a positive note, the existence of multiple pending cases can sometimes work to a person’s advantage.  I have handled DHS/DCFS appeals where we were able to make use of information learned in a deposition in a criminal case to help the DHS/DCFS appeal case.  Had there not been a pending criminal case, we would not have been able to obtain the information learned in the deposition, and so the existence of the criminal case was a useful thing for the DHS/DCFS appeal.


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