What to Expect at your DCYF Hearing

The Hearing Process

What is an exhibit?

Exhibits are documents you want the judge to read before making a decision. It is important to give all the exhibits to the judge before the hearing. If you do not, your exhibits might not be considered.

You can file documents or review your case information through the Participant Portal.

Training and Resources:

What is testimony?

Testimony is a statement given under oath after the judge swears in each participant. An oath means the speaker promises to tell the truth. This is the part of the hearing where each person gets to explain their side of the case. The judge may stop or limit testimony if it is unnecessary.

Do not interrupt another person during their time to speak. The judge will allow you a chance to respond to the other person’s statements.

What is cross-examination?

When a person is done giving their testimony, the other party may ask them questions. This is called cross-examination. You may only ask questions. You may not comment on their testimony or make statements. If you disagree with what the person said, you may ask the judge to let you testify again.

What is a witness?

A witness is someone who will give testimony to support your case. You are allowed to have witnesses, but you are not required to have them. You need to make sure they are available at the time of the hearing. The judge decides who may testify as a witness. DCYF may also have witnesses.

What are closing statements?

A closing statement is your last chance to talk to the judge before the hearing ends. It is the time for you to tell the judge how you think they should decide, and why. It is not a time for new testimony.

What happens if I miss my hearing?

If you miss your hearing, the judge will send out an order dismissing your case. If you still want your hearing, you must send OAH a written explanation of why you did not attend.

You have a limited time to do this. Please look at your order for instructions. A time will be scheduled for you to explain to the judge why you missed your hearing. The judge will decide if your case will be reopened.