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What can I do if I cannot get along with my DCF worker?

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Reviewed June 2021

A good working relationship with your DCF worker is important because:

  • You need your worker to understand your point of view.
  • You need DCF to understand your case. It is harder for DCF to understand your case if you do not get along with your worker or they think you are not cooperating.
  • You may need your worker to help you in Probate and Family Court. For example, if you have a custody case against the person who abused you, your DCF worker may be able to show the judge that the abusive person should not have custody.

Note for Domestic Violence Survivors

Sometimes DCF workers do not understand what living with domestic violence is like. They may not understand what you are going through, so try to be as organized, clear, and easy to understand as you can.

Sometimes your best efforts to have a good working relationship with your DCF worker do not succeed.

What can I do if I have a serious disagreement or misunderstanding with my DCF worker?

If you have a serious disagreement or misunderstanding with your worker:

  • Tell them, if you feel like you can.
  • Tell your worker’s supervisor.
  • Write to your social worker and their supervisor with the facts as you see them. In your letter:
    • Ask them to add your letter to your file.
    • Stick to the facts.
    • Do not make threats or accusations.
  • If you are a domestic violence survivor, you may want a domestic violence advocate to come to a meeting with your worker and their supervisor. Your advocate may be able to help you with your relationship with DCF.
  • Communicate in writing as much as you can, and write down notes of any conversations.

What if I still cannot work things out with my DCF worker?

You can use the DCF "Grievance Process." See I have a problem with the DCF but I cannot get a fair hearing.​ Or

You can talk to the DCF Ombudsman. DCF has an "Office of the Ombudsman." An “ombudsman” is a person who looks into complaints. The DCF Office of the Ombudsman helps parents who feel DCF treated them unfairly. If you tried to solve a problem with your local DCF office and you are still unhappy, staff at the Ombudsman's Office can work with you and your local DCF office to solve problems. Their phone number is (617) 748-2444.

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