Nate Nieman represents individuals appealing a DFCS indicated finding. DCFS appeals are different than most types of cases that people might be familiar with, though they are similar in nature and often concern common subject matter.
With a criminal case, law enforcement investigates a crime and then confers with the State’s Attorney, who files charges if that office sees fit. If that defendant is convicted at a trial, then that person can appeal to a higher appellate court, which can overturn the conviction.
With a DCFS case, it is usually DCFS that investigates a crime against a child or an allegation of abuse or neglect. Then, after that investigation is concluded, the parent will be “indicated” by the investigator if the investigator has determined that the parent or caretaker harmed of neglected the child.
That “indication” finding is then put into DCFS’ database, which is not accessible to the general public (like a sex offender registry would be) but which is accessible by some other state agencies and may have the effect of barring individuals from taking part in certain activities (such as coaching youth sports, etc.).
Unlike a criminal case where the accused is presumed innocent until a judge or jury determines otherwise, an indicated parent is presumed “guilty” of neglecting or abusing the child upon indication and must reverse that decision through the appeal process. And unlike criminal cases were the appeal process consists of filing written briefs after a trial has taken place, the DCFS appeal process is actually the trial itself—a hearing before an administrative law judge where that judge will decide whether the “indicated” finding will remain or be expunged from the DCFS database.
If you have received an indicated finding after a DCFS investigation, contact attorney Nate Nieman regarding appealing the finding.