This week I will have a THIRD hearing before the criminal court as to whether a protective order should be modified to allow a husband back into his home with his wife and daughter where the wife has written numerous letters to the court and state attorney begging for it to be modified. Why?
When he was arrested for misdemeanor threatening and disorderly conduct, the court issued a full no contact protective order and a condition of his release was to "cooperate with DCF" (it was subsequently modified to a residential stay away). The child was not a "victim" in the case, but she was in the house when the arguing took place. DCF opened an investigation and demanded that he go for substance abuse evaluation and treatment, counseling at a specific treatment facility, sign a case plan and submit to home visits. Client engaged in treatment, but not the specific treatment facility that DCF wanted and so he was deemed non-compliant. Client allegedly refused to sign a case plan so he was deemed non-compliant (despite never having been presented one). Client allegedly refused to allow future home visits, and was deemed non-compliant. Mind you, these are all rights that one has available against DCF; however, when there is a criminal case pending DCF will use the criminal court as a sword to force cooperation. He was found to not be in compliance and so the protective order remained, keeping him out of his home. He was subsequently arrested for violating said protective order for merely being at home with his family.
Client engaged in treatment at the prescribed facility for a period of time but the available time scheduled did not work with his job. They continued to give him treatment slots at 12pm in the afternoon, requiring him to take off 2 hours from work in the middle of the day for the session and travel time. He re-engaged with another provider that worked better for his schedule but DCF claims he is non-compliant with his treatment.
In the interim, DCF files a neglect petition in juvenile court. If the court determines that there is abuse and/or neglect, DCF has requested he continue with his mental health treatment and attend a counseling program called IPV Fair. If, however, the court does not determine there is a basis for the petition, then the court will not order him to do these things. However, despite this, DCF continues to file papers with the criminal court saying that because he has not engaged in those things, he is "non-compliant" and the protective order should, therefore, not be modified.
We have another hearing scheduled this week to ask that the protective order be modified after one year of being order out of his home. Given DCF's position, the criminal court is unlikely to modify if.
So, moral of the story? You have rights to contest DCF's involvement in your life but, apparently, are unable to exercise them.