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When a child suffers from physical, verbal, emotional, or sexual abuse, these actions can impact them mentally and emotionally for the rest of their life. Because of this, child abuse accusations are taken extremely seriously in the state of California. While all child abuse accusations should be heard and respected, there are times when these claims are false. There are a number of reasons why a person may fabricate an allegation, including cases in which a spouse attempts to secure child custody rights during a contentious divorce case. If you have been accused of child abuse, you should speak to a skilled legal professional as soon as possible. 

Child Abuse Accusations in California

In the state of California, there is a thorough process through which accusations of child abuse are analyzed. Under the Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act (CANRA), an allegation of abuse can come from several parties, such as a child’s teacher or coach. Once an accusation is made, it will be investigated by a social worker. The social worker will determine whether or not the case is unfounded, inconclusive, or substantiated. In the event that the case is deemed substantiated, meaning that the investigator believes the abuse accusations are more likely than not to be true, the case will be turned over to the California State Department of Justice. The Department of Justice will add information from the case to the Child Abuse Central Index (CACI). After the case is added to the CACI, the alleged abuser will be notified that their information has been cataloged. 


California family lawyerChildren deserve to have their health and safety protected, whether they are at home, at school, or under the supervision of a daycare provider, coach, or doctor. In order to safeguard children from the threat of abuse, the state of California has put legal measures in place to ensure that potential cases of child abuse or neglect are reported and investigated. When a person is being investigated for suspected child abuse, they should understand the processes that will be followed, their rights in the investigation, and the potential outcomes.

Reports of Suspected Abuse or Neglect

According to the Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act (CANRA), a person who reasonably suspects that a child has been the victim of abuse or neglect can make a report to a law enforcement agency. Certain “mandated reporters,” such as teachers, doctors, therapists, members of the clergy, or day care center employees, are required by law to make these reports.


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

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20 S. Santa Cruz Ave., Suite 212
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