Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Kids put on abuse registry

I always assumed that only adults were put on the child abuse registry. But it includes kids as young as 10 years old. The NY Times reports:
The Central Registry was created in the mid-1990s as a clearinghouse for reports of child abuse and neglect, to give everyone from child welfare workers to certain job placement offices a central location within the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services to run background checks or aid investigations.

It is largely made up of people who are not convicted criminals or registered sex offenders — from the negligent parent whose child died in a hot car to a group-home operator who hit a disabled child — and it includes the names of thousands of juveniles who may have no idea they are even on it and never had a chance to contest the designation. Like James’s son, those on the list will most likely not be eligible to adopt or foster children, and they are unlikely to get approval to work with children.

The confidential database contains anyone 10 or older who child welfare investigators have found “reason to believe” abused a child — a threshold that means there is overwhelming evidence to support the accusation. Of the roughly 54,000 people added to the registry in the 2009 fiscal year, nearly 2,500 were under 18. ...

James said he was not told that his son was on the child-abuser registry or that he would never be able to adopt again — details he called “so show-stopping that failing to disclose it is tantamount to fraud.” ... It was only when James decided to switch adoption agencies in the fall of 2009 that he found out what the “reason to believe” language in his son’s file meant — the boy’s listing in the registry would keep them from expanding their family.
This is really sick. I think that CPS should be shut down in its entirety. And then the names of all the CPS social workers should be put on a registry of evil people that prevents them from holding any job of responsibility again.

Here is a CBS/AP story from last year on problems with the registry:
Combatting child abuse is a cause with universal support. Yet a push to create a national database of abusers, as authorized by Congress in 2006, is barely progressing as serious flaws come to light in the state-level registries that would be the basis for a national list.

In North Carolina, an appeals court ruled last month that the registry there is unconstitutional because alleged abusers had no chance to defend themselves before being listed.

In New York, a class-action settlement is taking effect on behalf of thousands of people who were improperly denied the chance for a hearing to get removed from the state registry. ...

A person doesn't have to be convicted or even charged with a crime to get listed. Under the general practice in most states, entries are based on a child protection investigator's assertion that the person committed an act of abuse or neglect; hearings or appeals, if granted at all, often come long after the name is entered.

"Anybody can call a child abuse hotline and report abuse - anybody, including your ex-spouse who hates you, your landlord who's trying to evict you," Kubitschek said.
That is how I got on the California list. I have an ex-spouse who called CPS and made false and vindictive accusations against me. Three psychologists have testified in court that the charges were unfounded, but I am still on the list.

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