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  • Post Office Box 512, North Haven, CT 06473, United States

Attorney Jennifer Celentano

Jennifer M. Celentano was born and raised in New Haven County. A graduate of Hartwick College, Oneonta, New York, her education also includes a semester at Trinity College in Wales. After graduating from Hartwick, Ms. Celentano lived in Boston, Massachusetts for several years and completed a graduate certificate program for Women in Government and Politics at the McCormack Institute of Public Policy, University of Massachusetts, Boston.

Professionalism at its best

Ms. Celentano received her law degree in May of 2000 and worked at several general practice firms and an insurance law boutique before starting her own law practice in March of 2003. Ms. Celentano’s legal practice focuses on the areas of personal injury litigation and general civil litigation, including civil trial advocacy for personal injury victims, including automobile collision and premises liability cases.

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Attorney Celentano recently assisted in a community service project “Lend a Hand” to assist with redecorating a family room at The Children’s Center in Hamden, CT.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What do you do when DCF comes to your door?

In most situations, you are not legally required to allow DCF to come into your home, but there are some exceptions, such as if you have been arrested for a domestic violence crime and a child is in the home or they come with a warrant. You also do not have to talk to DCF and you have the right to remain silent.Ask for the investigator’s name and phone number and let them know that you will speak with an attorney who will follow up with the next steps.

How long do DCF investigations last in Connecticut?

If DCF opens an official investigation, it has 45 days to conclude it. At this point, it must make a finding as to whether abuse or neglect occurred. If the finding is that it has not occurred, the case is closed. If DCF determines abuse or neglect did occur, DCF will substantiate you. You have a right to appeal within 30 days of this decision. This causes an internal review to occur and the substantiation is either upheld or reversed. If an unfavorable finding is made, you can appeal the decision in an administrative hearing.

What happens when DCF takes a child?

If DCF believes that your child is being abused or neglected, it may petition the court to remove the child according to a four-day administrative hold. After this, DCF may try to obtain an Order of Temporary Custody, which is an ex parte hearing that you as the parent may not even be notified about. Then, the DCF may ask for an Order of Temporary Custody subject to a hearing where you will be permitted to object.

Can DCF talk to my child without my permission?

You can request that your child be interviewed with you present, but if you do not permit an interview without your presence, this may encourage DCF to take extra steps to secure a court-ordered interview. Additionally, DCF may be able to get an order allowing it to talk to your child’s other caretakers, teachers, medical professionals, neighbors, and others. Your lawyer can help set up a mutually acceptable interview process, such as being present during any interviews with your child.

What should I not say to DCF?

If you cooperate with DCF, you will need to be careful about what you say. Investigators often go to homes as a fishing expedition to find any evidence to substantiate claims of abuse or neglect. While you may want to absolve yourself of any guilt, do not admit to any wrongdoing or agree to an interview without legal counsel.

How can I fight DCF?

The best way that you can fight DCF against any charges or from preventing the agency from removing your child from your home is to hire an experienced dependency neglect lawyer who can mount legal arguments as to why removal is not appropriate or to question the evidence used to substantiate the charges against you.

What is reasonable visitation for non-custodial parents in Connecticut?

When visitation is granted to a non-custodial parent in Connecticut, this is through a set schedule or a reasonable basis. If “reasonable” visitation is ordered, this typically means that the custodial parent and non-custodial parent will work together so that the non-custodial parent has some access to visit the child. This provides greater flexibility and the parents can work around their work schedules and other obligations. However, courts sometimes require parents to enter into a written parenting plan that spells out visitation times and how the parents will resolve problems that arise.

What does it mean to sign over guardianship of a child in Connecticut?

If you sign over guardianship of your minor child in Connecticut, you are giving the named guardian the right to make important decisions in your child’s life, such as where they will go to school and what type of medical treatment they will receive. This also gives the guardian the responsibility to care for your child. This is an important decision and one that you should only make after you are aware of its full legal effects.