DCF And Protecting Your Rights: How Absolute Immunity for Social Workers Could Impact You

In a recent case, C.M. vs. COMMISSIONER OF THE DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILIES, the Supreme Judicial Court granted further appellate review discussing whether a Department of Children and Families social worker and supervisor should be granted absolute immunity when filing a care and protection petition.

The court explained that absolute immunity ensures governmental functions are protected from interference from civil liability litigation. The SJC quoted a Pennsylvania judge, stating, “social workers ‘walk a tightrope’ in trying to do what is in a child’s best interests.” The court agreed that without absolute immunity, social workers would act so cautiously that they may fail to intervene in situations where children are in danger. The court held that social workers and supervisors shall be granted absolute immunity against civil litigation, which means parents and caretakers cannot sue a social worker for misrepresenting or lying in their affidavits in care and protection cases.

“…social workers ‘walk a tightrope’ in trying to do what is in a child’s best interests.”

It is important to remember, as the court noted in their decision, that there are other means by which the public is protected against misconduct from the Department of Children and Families. One example of this protection is a parent or caretaker can file a complaint against a social worker with the Board of Registration of Social Workers.

If you or someone you know is involved with the Department of Children and Families, it is imperative that you reach out to an attorney to protect your rights.  Schedule a consultation with Ryan Faenza Carey today.

Similar topics:

Fair Healing Appeal: How to defend against a support finding of child abuse or neglect from DCF

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What Happens When a DCF report turns into an emergency

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