Child Abuse Registry: Why Fight? Victory Without a Contested Hearing in 20 minutes.

Case closed in 20 minutes before the judge. A technical discrepancy created an issue which got a Child Abuse Registry (CAR) hearing ended in less than 20 minutes from roll call to decision. Technical discrepancies occur frequently.

That doesn’t account for the couple of hours spent reviewing, preparing, and writing. But preparation and experience create better opportunities.

Anyone who receives a notice needs to fight that placement.

Receiving a Notice for the Child Abuse Registry is intimidating and scary. DFCS/ Department of Human Services must prove the parts of the “substantiation.” Knowing how to fight the allegations is important.

The MOST IMPORTANT STEP is filing the request for a hearing. If you fail to request a hearing, nothing can be done. Requesting a hearing is critical.

Once the hearing is requested, all manner of things can happen, technicalities can create a reversal. Attorneys who practice in Child Abuse Registry cases know the ins and outs of how these cases work. Finding the weaknesses in these cases, which are new and unique, requires time but in the end hiring attorney makes a difference.

Filing for the hearing is the most important step.

© Nancee Tomlinson 2018 Read More

What is the Child Abuse Registry in Georgia? Why worry?

DFCS automatically places any substantiated investigation on the Georgia Child Abuse Registry. What does that mean in real terms for real people? What’s the danger?

The Child Abuse Registry is so new, such a recent creation, no one can predict what the State will do with it. Can the State change the uses? Modify it? Who knows what changes will come. Fighting placement on the child abuse registry when you receive notice is your only opportunity to challenge placement on the registry.

DFCS, the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services, investigates allegations of child abuse. They must determine whether to substantiate an allegation of child abuse. According to the DFCS website, the definition of a substantiated is

An investigation disposition by a CPS investigator concludes, based on a preponderance of evidence collected, that the allegation of maltreatment as defined by state law and CPS procedure requirements is true. (DFCS “what does substantiate mean?“)

The decision of DFCS about what a preponderance of evidence means is not the final answer though.

Two different things happen as a result of a substantiated DFCS investigation. One, DFCS becomes involved with the family where the abuse is said to have occurred. This aspect is covered in another blog post. The second thing: DFCS generates a report and places the alleged abusive person on the state’s Child Abuse Registry.

The Georgia Legislature created the Child Abuse Registry. The alleged abusive person will receive notice by certified mail of their placement on the registry and must request a hearing within 10 days of receiving the notice.

If a hearing is requested, then an administrative law judge (not the juvenile court judge) will decide whether a preponderance of evidence exists for the alleged abusive person to remain on the list. The hearing requires that DFCS (the respondent) prove by a preponderance of evidence why the alleged abusive person should remain on the registry. The Petitioner (the alleged abusive person) or the Petitioner’s attorney will fight to prevent DFCS from establishing the preponderance of evidence using the well known court rules and rules of evidence.

The legislature restricted who can see the Child Abuse Registry, referred to as CAR. According to Georgia law OCGA 49-5-185, access is limited to, an abuse investigator for purposes of an investigation only, government agencies of any state which provide professional licenses to individuals who work with children or around children, and an to Court Appointed Special Advocate programs for screening volunteers.

Being on the child abuse registry could impact licensing by the State for those involved with and planning to work with children.
Hiring an attorney and fighting the Child Abuse Registry is important and time sensitive. Once the deadline to request a hearing has expired your ability to be removed will be gone.
Having an attorney with experience to handle child abuse registry cases makes a difference.
Call Nancee Tomlinson at 706-200-1777