A dependency and neglect (D&N) case is a civil action brought by a county department of human/social services (DHS) when they believe that a child might be abused or neglected.Colorado Office of the Child’s Representative
In Colorado, many people are mandatory reporters. The law requires these people to report even the slightest suspicions of child abuse or neglect. In recent years, DHS has undergone public criticism for failing to adequately address some of those reports. As a result of these failings, caseworkers face difficult decisions when evaluating mandatory reports. They may even sometimes experience pressure to take action and file a D&N case with the courts.
A D&N case begins when a petition is filed with the court. In some emergency situations, DHS may have already taken custody of your children prior to filing the D&N. Once the case is filed, parents are required to appear in court where DHS and the caseworker will be represented by the County Attorney. Although a D&N is a civil matter, some D&N cases are also referred to law enforcement for investigation and criminal prosecution.
What If A D&N Is Filed Involving My Family?
If a D&N case has been filed against you, you might experience fear, shame, guilt, anger and betrayal. It is not easy to learn that someone believes that your children are at risk or that you are not doing a good job as a parent. When a D&N case is filed, it means that DHS wants to supervise your parenting or remove your children from your home. Christopher Estoll works with parents to retain custody of their children and demonstrate to the Court that their children are safe at home.
Our ultimate goal is to get the D&N dismissed by the court and the case closed. We help you prove to the court that your children are safe and loved in your custody and that you can parent your children without government supervision. Our goal is to help you become a safe, secure and independent family again.