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Los Gatos CACI defense attorneyThe California Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act (CANRA) requires teachers, doctors, and others who work with children to report any “reasonable suspicion” of child neglect or abuse. Reports can also come from other sources. For example, allegations of child abuse or neglect are sometimes made maliciously in the course of a bitter divorce or child custody battle. Accusations may also be made out of an excess of caution, or due to a misinterpretation of something a child says or does. Whether true or not, the mere accusation can be hurtful and affect your access to your children. 

Child abuse reports are investigated by a child protective services agency in the county where the child lives. In Santa Clara County, that would be the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). These investigations must be taken seriously, because they could result in your name being put on the state’s Child Abuse Central Index (CACI). This will show up on a pre-employment background check for any job that involves working with children.

A child abuse investigation will conclude with a finding of unfounded, inconclusive, or substantiated. If a finding of “substantiated” is entered against you with the California Department of Justice, your name will be added to the state’s Child Abuse Central Index (CACI), where it will remain for your lifetime.

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California family lawyerChildren are some of the most vulnerable members of our society, especially when they are in danger of abuse by the people who are responsible for raising and caring for them. In order to help keep children safe, the state of California has put several laws in place designed to protect them from abuse and neglect, including the establishment of the Child Abuse Central Index (CACI). However, these laws can negatively affect people who are falsely accused of child abuse. During child abuse investigations, it is important to know your rights and understand how the laws affect you.

Understanding the CACI

In California, when a report of suspected child abuse or severe neglect is made to a law enforcement agency, a social worker will investigate the situation. If they find that the report is substantiated (meaning that they believe that it is more likely than not that the alleged abuse actually occurred), their report will be forwarded to the Child Abuse Central Index, which is administered by the California Attorney General.

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