Substantiations & Registry
Upon completion of an investigation, the DCF can decide to enter a substantiation against the parents and/or caregivers who were the targets of an investigation. Substantiations can be for educational neglect, abuse, physical neglect, and other categories.
If you are substantiated for abuse or neglect, you have the right to appeal the substantiation – there is a 30-day window in which you may request an internal review of DCF’s decision to substantiate. DCF conducts this internal review without a hearing, and you do not earn a right to a hearing until the internal review has been completed. After completion of the internal review, DCF will either uphold the substantiations, or it will reverse the substantiation. If the substantiation is upheld, the parent or guardian has 30 days to request an Administrative Hearing to contest DCF’s findings.
The administrative hearing is usually held at the local DCF field office in front of a DCF hearing officer (an attorney employed by DCF for the purpose of conducting DCF’s administrative hearings). The DCF administrative hearings are less formal than court. The rules of evidence are relaxed and, at times, a paralegal may even represent DCF at the hearing. If you lose at the DCF administrative hearing, you have the right to appeal the Superior Court.
The Central Registry
If you are substantiated, DCF can recommend that you be placed on the Central Registry – a database of substantiated perpetrators of child abuse and/or neglect who are considered a danger to children. The Registry is run and maintained by the DCF. It is not a public database, but it can be accessed for the purposes of obtaining information for the investigation of child abuse and neglect, background checks, and some other uses, such as employment background checks in certain fields (e.g., teaching or daycare) and when adopting or becoming a foster parent.
If the DCF is recommending placement on the Central Registry, your appeal of the substantiation will also cover an appeal of your placement on the registry.
The Bottom Line
If you have been substantiated or are on the Central Registry, contact us immediately to discuss your options »