New Jersey’s child welfare agency (DCP&P) maintains a central registry of cases of child abuse and neglect. The list includes the names of individuals against whom the DCP&P has made a substantiated finding of abuse or neglect.
The child abuse registry is confidential but can be used to screen potential adoptive parents, kingship legal guardians, resource parents, and adults within a resource family household. The screening is referred to as a CARI (child abuse record information) check. CARI checks can also be used for employment purposes to screen applicants who want to work with children, the elderly, or other vulnerable populations.
The registry maintains information that can help keep children safe from people who could harm them, but it can also cast a formidable shadow across the reputation of anyone on it. If the DCP&P has made a substantiated finding against you, you have the right to challenge it by requesting an appeal in writing. If you request an appeal and the finding is rescinded after an internal review, your name will be removed from the child abuse registry. As long as the substantiated finding stands, however, your name will remain on the registry. Your name will not be included on the central registry if the finding is established, not established, or unfounded. The DCP&P can keep records of all findings, substantiated or not, but agency records are confidential and will not surface on a CARI check.
A substantiated finding can significantly impact your life now and for years to come. If you are involved in a child welfare investigation or are facing a substantiated finding, speak with an experienced New Jersey child welfare attorney. An attorney can help you decide whether challenging the finding is right for your case and help you take steps to appeal it if it is. The appeals process is involved and can be lengthy. You will need to attend a series of hearings and produce discovery (i.e. evidence) to support your argument. An attorney can help you prepare for the hearings and gather evidence. Even before a finding is made, working with an attorney early on in your case can ensure you are aware of your rights from step one, so you can best defend them.
Do you have questions about substantiated findings? Williams Law Group, LLC can inform you of your rights and what you can do to appeal the finding. Located in Short Hills, New Jersey, Williams Law Group, LLC provides compassionate and dedicated legal services to Union, Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Monmouth, and Middlesex counties, and the surrounding areas. Our knowledgeable attorneys handle divorce and family law, child custody, and child abuse/neglect cases. Call our office at (908) 810-1083, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact us through our confidential online form to schedule a consultation and ultimately get connected with an experienced New Jersey divorce and child custody attorney.