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Posts in Child Welfare
Mandated Reporters and MGL c. 119 § 51A

Generally, a Care and Protection Petition is initiated by DCF after a 51A report is screened-in, investigated and supported. In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts MGL c. 119 § 51A requires mandated reporters to report any reasonable cause to believe that a child is suffering a physical or emotional injury resulting from abuse, neglect, physical dependence upon an addictive drug at birth, is being sexually exploited child, or being a human trafficking victim. Failure to report can result in fines and, in some cases, incarceration.

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DCF has Temporary Custody, Now What do I do?

Once the Court finds an imminent risk of abuse or neglect exists, or the parent(s) waive their 72-hour hearing, DCF has temporary custody of the children. The Department of Children and Families will place the child first with kin, but if kin cannot be located, they will place the children in foster care.  Thereafter, the parents may only be entitled to 1-hour supervised visits at the DCF office. Generally speaking, the DCF goal for children at this juncture should be “reunification of the family.”

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