What happens when the state removes children from parents

What happens when the state removes children from parents
State removal of children from parents
One of the first great difficulties a parent and child may face in a care and protection case is the emergency removal of a child. As can be imagined this separation is devastating for all involved. Children may be removed by the Department of Children and Families (DCF) while at day care, at night from their homes or even with the help of the police.

Care and Protection Filing

A care and protection case starts with the filing of a petition in court, usually by the Department of Children and Families. Once the petition is filed an emergency hearing is held to determine whether the child should be placed in the temporary custody of DCF. Unfortunately, the emergency hearing is almost always conducted with just a judge and a social worker from DCF. No witnesses and no chance for opposition.

72 Hour Hearing

The emergency hearing almost always results in a judge granting emergency custody of the child to DCF. Once emergency custody is transferred notice must be given to the parents and a second hearing is scheduled. The second hearing is called a "72 hour hearing." The hearing is called a 72 hour hearing because by law the hearing must be scheduled within 72 hours of the child’s removal.

The 72 hour hearing is a formal hearing with an opportunity for all parties to be heard by the court.


The above information is very general in nature and should not be considered or relied upon as legal advice. If the reader has a legal problem immediately consult an attorney for specific legal advice.

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