Once a DCS specialist and his/her supervisor have determined that there is probable cause to support a child abuse allegation, a DCS allegation is substantiated.
Probable Cause: occurs when the information would lead a reasonable person to believe that the alleged abuse occurred.
A substantiated allegation will result in the information for the perpetrator being added to the Central Registry. The Central Registry is used by various state and federal agencies when conducting background checks upon individuals likely to have direct contact with children or vulnerable adults.
The Protective Services Review Team (PSRT) will notify all accused person(s) with a letter. Upon receipt of the letter, the accused has 14 days to request a hearing in order to disprove the allegation. Failure to respond within 14 days will result in an automatic substantiation of the abuse allegations. An accused person is not eligible to request a hearing if s/he is currently involved in pending legal action that is based upon the alleged abuse or s/he has been convicted of abuse based upon the same incident as the DCS allegation. If an eligible person challenges the allegation, a hearing will be set to determine whether the allegation should be substantiated.
Before the hearing the PSRT will review the allegations and the accused will have the opportunity to provide additional information. After the review PSRT will determine whether the allegations are supported, if not the findings will be changed to “unsubstantiated” and there will not be a hearing. If this occurs, PSRT will notify the accused person(s) with another letter.
If PSRT determines that probable cause still exists, a hearing will be held where a judge will make the decision as to whether probable cause exists. The decision will be reviewed by the department director who has 30 days to accept or disregard the judge’s decision. If the department director fails to make a decision within the 30 days, the judge’s ruling is final.
The decision can be appealed with a motion for review by the department director or the accused can elevate the matter to the Superior Court. PSRT will notify the accused of any decisions to uphold or modify the substantiation.
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