It can be a traumatic event when the Arkansas Department of Human Service (DHS) becomes involved in your life, particularly if allegations of child abuse or neglect have been made against you or your child is removed from your home and placed in foster care. When this happens, there are specific time restrictions for you to respond, and you need to contact an attorney right away to protect your rights.

If there have been allegations of child maltreatment made against you by DHS or the Arkansas State Police Crimes Against Children Division, you may be required to work through a 12 to 15 month process guided by the court which is called a Dependency-Neglect case. Arkansas law places very specific guidelines and time limits on these cases. In cases where children have been removed from the home and placed in foster care, the initial goal is usually to reunify the children with the person from whom they were removed. However, if little or no progress is made to remedy the reason that the children were removed from the home, then the court will find stable and suitable placement for the children and may even order that a parent’s rights be terminated.

As a result of a true finding of child maltreatment, your name will be placed on the Child Maltreatment Central Registry, which could prevent you from ever working in a field in which you would be responsible for anyone else, including schools, nursing homes, hospitals, daycare, and other such places. You may also be in danger of losing your professional license, particularly if you are a teacher or a health care provider. If you receive notification that of a true finding of child maltreatment, you must request an administrative hearing within 30 days or you will lose your right to challenge you name being placed on the Central Registry.

Our attorneys are knowledgeable of the law and experienced in handling DHS cases. We will work to protect your rights and to advise and guide you through these cases.

There is a difference between criminal charges and DHS allegations of child maltreatment. If you have been charged with a crime, you need to contact a criminal defense attorney. Those charges could result in a criminal conviction and even incarceration. We do not practice in the area of criminal defense.