The 2020 Georgia budget legislation defunded the Child Abuse Registry. While the law remains on the books, there is no method to implement or enforce it to my understanding. I am told that pending administrative considerations are being rejected for lack of jurisdiction. The information below is historical at this time.
Georgia has enacted legislation which can allow the Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS or DFACS) to place a person on the child abuse registry. While the registry is not a public registry like the sex offender registry, being placed on the registry can have significant effects to you down the road.
The law allows a person the opportunity to challenge this placement on the registry by an appeal and hearing.
The process starts with the Division substantiating a claim of abuse or neglect. The language regarding what can cause a person to be placed on the registry is very broad. Teachers and other professionals may face action where a social worker decides that they did not do enough to protect a child. Inclusion on the registry may have a bad effect to continued state licenses and employment.
Who Has Access to the Registry Information?
Quite a number of people can have access to the information on the child abuse registry (CAR). These include:
- An abuse investigator investigating a possible child abuse case
- State/government agencies which license people/entities who have interactions with children
- A licensing entity for the purpose of disclosing the basis of their licensing determination
- The Department of Early Care and Learning
- Any affiliate court appointed special advocate (CASA) program to screen volunteers or employees
How Do You Fight the CAR Inclusion?
It is possible to appeal a Child Abuse Registry inclusion, but you will be more likely of success with a lawyer who has extensive experience with criminal defense and administrative law issues. We have that experience and stand ready to assist you.
Once you receive the notice of inclusion, you need to meet with a lawyer as soon as possible.
When representation is arranged, your lawyer will initiate the appeal.
The case will be assigned to the Office of State Administrative Hearings which will schedule and give notice of a hearing date.
A hearing will be conducted where your lawyer can challenge the evidence and attack the state's case against you. A recording of the hearing will be made in case it is necessary to appeal the Administrative Law Judge's (ALJ) decision.
This is not a simple or quick process, but given the stakes, it is worth challenging this classification which can have negative repercussions for you for the rest of your life.