Child Protection Proceedings
It is certainly an unnerving event to interact with a Child Protective Services worker. There are typically three results that can occur from that investigation. The best outcome for the parent is that the report has been determined to be "unfounded" which means that the worker was unable to find some credible evidence to believe that any child maltreatment occurred. In the event that at least the minimum evidentiary standard has been determined by the investigator to exist, the report itself will be "indicated" which means that it shall be maintained in the New York State Central Registry. Depending upon the severity of the situation, the Department of Social Services (of which Child Protective Services is an agency) may remove the child(ren) from the home and initiate a legal proceeding in Family court pursuant to Article 10 of the Family Court Act. In that court proceeding, the Department of Social Services may be seeking a finding against the parent of abuse or neglect of a child and may also be seeking outcomes involving the compliance with certain terms or ultimately may wish to have the court permanently remove the child(ren) from the parent including the potential termination of parental rights.
To the extent that the third result of a court proceeding is not involved and an individual is the subject of an "indicated" report, there is an administrative procedure in place for that report to be reviewed and ultimately for a "fair hearing" to occur before an Administrative Judge to determine if the maltreatment in fact occurred such that the indicated report would remain on the registry and if the conduct and circumstances involved would be reasonably related to the individual's employment in a field dealing with children or as a potential step-parent, in which case although the report may remain, access to the report may be limited.
We have represented individuals relative to these various aspects of child protective proceedings and are certainly willing to assist you if necessary.
If you suspect child abuse of neglect, New York State has a confidential hotline where you can report your concerns. The number is 1-800-342-3720. To contact one of our attorneys with any questions please call us at 716.636.7600 or message our Department Chair by clicking here. All inquiries and consultation are confidential.