After a line of cases found California’s Child Abuse Central Index (“CACI”) violated privacy rights, California implemented a set of procedures for the listing of an individual’s name on the index, and also for removing a person’s name from the CACI.
Based on a settlement agreement reached, beginning March 1, 2008, individuals to be placed on CACI must be provided appropriate notice of their CACI listing as well as the right to appeal their placement on CACI. Within five business days of submitting an individual’s name to the Department of Justice, the agency must send that person (1) notice of his or her listing on CACI, (2) the grievance procedures for challenging reference to the CACI, and (3) a form for requesting a grievance hearing.
If you have received such a notice and wish to challenge your listing on the CACI, you must act immediately to ensure your right to a hearing. Your request for a grievance hearing must be received by the county within thirty calendar days of the notice. If you receive such a notice and wish to challenge the listing, it is best to contact an Experienced Criminal Attorney immediately to ensure you submit the correct information by the deadline. If you receive a notice and do nothing, or submit your request for a grievance hearing after the deadline, there will be no way to remove your name from CACI. Your failure to respond will act as a waiver of your right to the grievance hearing.
If you were placed on CACI prior to May 1, 2008, the counties were not required to provide you with an opportunity to challenge the decision to be listed on CACI, and now those counties are required to provide you such a hearing. This means if you were placed on the list prior to May, 1, 2008, you may submit a Request for Grievance Hearing to the county and receive your hearing, even though under the new rules your time would have already run. You must send in your request within thirty calendar days of becoming aware that you are listed on the CACI and of becoming aware of the grievance process. If you believe you may have a right to a grievance hearing, call Morales Law Firm today to ensure that the correct procedures are followed.
If you submit the request for a grievance hearing within the time allotted, the hearing must be scheduled within ten business days and held no later than sixty calendar days from the date the request was received by the county, unless otherwise agreed by both you and the county. A complainant is allowed to have an attorney at the hearing. Prior to the hearing, the complainant and/or his attorney are allowed the right to inspect all the records and evidence related to the referral that prompted the CACI listing. During the hearing, witnesses and evidence can be presented by both sides. Testimony by the witnesses will be given under oath or affirmation.
After the hearing, the grievance review officer will make a determination based on the evidence whether the allegation of child abuse and/or neglect is unfounded, inconclusive, or substantiated. If it is determined to be unfounded, the person’s name will be removed from the CACI.
The state of California is trying to correct the problems associated with the Child Abuse Central Index, however, it is still not perfect. The procedures can be complicated and there are many time limitations that must be strictly followed. If you have been placed on CACI, the best thing you can do is contact a Skilled Criminal Defense Attorney to assist you through the process.