The Georgia Legislature created the now dead Child Abuse Registry. This registry prevented individuals “substantiated” to have committed child abuse from obtaining work with children.
In the COVID delayed 2020 Legislative Session, the Child Abuse Registry was eliminated. However, access to DFCS’s list of “substantiation” of child abuse is still available through some background checks by the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL) as well as the Georgia Department of Education. O.C.G.A. § 49-5-41(c)(11).
What does this mean?
The important word here is substantiation. Substantiation is a term used within DFCS to label a person whom DFCS believes based on their internal investigation without input, argument, or outside involvement to be a child abuser. If that person is a parent and/or guardian, that person will have the court processes to fight the allegations.
If however that person is not a parent and/or caregiver with the right to due process in juvenile court, that person will receive a notice in the mail with certain deadlines and appeal processes.
A finding of substantiation that is supported by a court finding of Dependency or an unrefuted, unappealled finding of substantiation may impact potential employment in jobs with children when the employers are required to check backgrounds through DECAL or the Department of Education.
A non-caregiver who receives the paperwork declaring substantiation and outlining the appeal process should carefully consider whether the non-caregiver wishes to appeal the finding. There is a three level appeal process.
A person on listed as substantiated on a background check through DECAL or Department of Education can be barred from some types of employment.
© Nancee Tomlinson 2021