Individuals seeking to engage in certain types of employment (such as social work, teaching or government subcontracting) and volunteer opportunities (such as coaching or volunteering at school) must obtain child abuse clearances from ChildLine to ensure that they have not been previously identified as a perpetrator of child abuse. It is important to understand that being named as a perpetrator of child abuse in the ChildLine central registry impacts your ability to hold certain jobs and be involved with your children’s activities.
Fortunately, before anyone can be listed in the ChildLine central registry, they are afforded due process. An investigation must be conducted, and the subject of the investigation is notified by letter that a report has been made and that an investigation is taking place. If you receive such a letter, you will most likely be asked to speak with an investigator, and any information you provide can and will be used in the final determination and any subsequent proceedings. If you are asked to speak with an investigator, you should consider speaking with an experienced attorney before you make any statements that will impact the result.
Following the investigation, a determination is made by the investigating county agency and that determination is sent to ChildLine for recording. An “unfounded” determination means that there is insufficient evidence to substantiate the child abuse report and will result in the report being expunged. An “indicated” or “founded” determination will result in the individual being listed as a perpetrator of child abuse in the central registry. An individual being investigated will receive the determination by letter and be given an opportunity to file an appeal to request that their name is expunged from the central registry. The appeal can take place administratively within the Department of Welfare or through the courts in the Bureau of Hearings and Appeals. If you are the subject of an investigation and receive a determination letter, you should consider speaking with an experienced attorney as soon as you receive the letter to ensure that you are able to properly and timely file the appeal. The appeal deadlines are specific and definite, so missing the deadline will most likely result in your inability to challenge the child abuse finding.
Our firm is experienced in handling ChildLine appeals. If you are under investigation or have received notice that you are being listed in the ChildLine central registry, we may be able to help. Call our firm at 215-348-1776 to request a free consultation during which we can discuss your case and what can be done to protect you throughout the process.
Daniel M. Keane is a Shareholder in the firm. Dan’s main areas of practice include family law, criminal defense, child dependency, civil litigation and Orphan’s Court litigation. He currently serves as a Solicitor for the Bucks County Children & Youth Services Agency. He is also a member of the Bucks County Orphans’ Court Attorney Appointment List from which he receives court appointments to represent parties in guardianship and termination of parental rights litigation matters.
Clemons, Richter & Reiss, P.C.
Attorneys at Law
2003 South Easton Road, Suite 300,
Doylestown, PA 18901
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