California family lawyerUnder California’s Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act (CANRA), certain people are required to make a report to law enforcement when they reasonably suspect that a child may be the victim of abuse or neglect. These reports will trigger an investigation, and if a social worker believes that there is evidence that the alleged abuse was likely to have occurred, they will forward the substantiated report to the California Department of Justice (DOJ), and the alleged abuser will be placed on the Child Abuse Central Index (CACI).

Being listed in the CACI can have a major impact on a person’s life, affecting their ability to find employment, serve as a volunteer, adopt a child, or act as a foster parent. Fortunately, California law provides people with the ability to dispute their inclusion in the CACI.

CACI Grievance Hearings

When a substantiated report of child abuse or neglect is forwarded to the DOJ, the agency which made the report must also notify the alleged abuser by sending the following forms to their last known address:

A hearing asking to remove a person’s name can be requested by sending the Request for Grievance Hearing form to the address listed on the Notice of Child Abuse Central Index Listing. This request must be received within 30 days of the date on the Notice, and it must include a reason why the decision to list the alleged abuser in the CACI should be reversed.

The request for a grievance hearing will be denied if a court case related to the allegations is pending, or if the case has concluded with the court determining that the suspected abuse which resulted in the CACI listing actually occurred. If a person is denied a grievance hearing because their case is still pending, they can submit a Request for Grievance Hearing within 30 days after the conclusion of the case.

A grievance hearing must take place within 60 days after the request was received, and it will be conducted by a grievance review officer who was not directly involved in the investigation of the report of suspected child abuse or neglect. Prior to the hearing, the alleged abuser has the right to review records and evidence related to the report of suspected abuse. During the hearing, they may present evidence and call witnesses, and they may be represented by an attorney. In some cases, the child who was allegedly abused may be allowed to testify, unless the grievance review officer believes there is good cause to prevent them from doing so.

Following the hearing, the grievance review officer will make a decision based on the evidence, and they will provide this written decision to the complainant, their attorney, and the California Department of Social Services within 30 days of the conclusion of the hearing. If the officer decides that the report of child abuse was unfounded or inconclusive, the complainant’s name will be removed from the CACI

Contact a Los Gatos CACI Grievance Hearing Attorney

If your name has been incorrectly listed in the CACI, you should contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible to ensure that you meet your requirements to challenge the listing. At the Law Offices of Benita Ventresca, we will guide you through the process of requesting a grievance hearing and represent you as work to repair your reputation. Contact a Los Gatos family law attorney at 408-395-8822 to schedule a free consultation.

 

Sources:

http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?lawCode=PEN&sectionNum=11170.

http://www.cdss.ca.gov/cdssweb/entres/forms/English/SOC833.pdf