Keeping Records of Child Abuse and Neglect
New Jersey’s Department of Children and Families has a dedicated unit that maintains a central registry of child abuse and neglect case information. The registry includes the names of all individuals against whom a substantiated finding of child abuse or neglect has been made.
Filling the Information Gap
The child abuse registry serves an important purpose. It helps prevent those who have abused or neglected a child from being put in a position where they could harm a child again. Criminal background checks only display information about arrests, prosecutions, and convictions. The vast majority of child abuse and neglect cases do not result in criminal prosecution, leaving a critical information gap. Thus, it’s possible for someone who has harmed a child to pass a criminal background check, presenting an obvious problem when it comes to screening people for positions or roles that would bring them into contact with children.
Child abuse record information (CARI) checks are used to screen potential resource parents and adoptive parents. Many other individuals are subject to CARI checks, including:
- Kinship legal guardians
- Adoption agency employees
- Child care center employees
- Registered child care providers
- Residential facility employees
- Professional caretakers/guardians of elderly
- CASA volunteers (assigned to advocate for children in court)
- Juvenile justice commission employees, and
- Department of Children and Families employees
The child abuse registry works to eliminate the chance someone who has abused or neglected a child to be put in a position of authority or power where they could have the chance to harm those unable to protect themselves.
A substantiated finding means your name will be included on the child abuse registry and will appear on CARI checks indefinitely. You have a right, however, to challenge substantiated findings. If the finding is rescinded as a result of your appeal, your name will be removed from the registry.
Parents concerned about the child abuse registry are urged to speak with an experienced New Jersey child welfare attorney. An attorney can help you decide if appealing a substantiated finding is right for you and walk you through the process step by step.
Are you involved in a child welfare case and have questions about findings? Williams Law Group, LLC can provide you with tenacious legal counsel to ensure your rights are defended. 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.