Child Abuse Central Index

child abuse central index

Child Abuse Central IndexCalifornia maintains a database of "reports of suspected child abuse and severe neglect," known as the Child Abuse Central Index or CACI. The maintenance of the CACI is governed by the Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act ("CANRA") under Sections 11164-11174 of the California Penal Code. Specified agencies are required by law to conduct an active investigation, which involves investigating allegations and determining whether the incident is "substantiated, inconclusive or unfounded."

Each reported incident of child abuse must then be categorized as (1) "substantiated," meaning it is more likely than not that the child abuse and/or severe neglect occurred; (2) "inconclusive," meaning that there is insufficient evidence to determine whether child abuse or severe neglect occurred; or (3) "unfounded," meaning the report is false, inherently improbable, an accidental injury, or does not constitute child abuse or severe neglect. The agency must submit only "substantiated" reports for inclusion in CACI.

The CACI list is not available to the general public, but is available to law enforcement, social service agencies and entities who have a legitimate interest in determining whether prospective employees/volunteers are on the list (i.e. child care businesses).

The investigating agency has discretion to determine the relevant facts in order to determine whether a report to CACI should be made.

Once an individual has been informed that their name is on the CACI list, the individual has a due process right to a hearing before the agency on the allegations. Unfortunately, the decision is reviewed by a representative of the agency. The reporting agency is required by law to hold a hearing and has the discretion to determine whether grounds exist to list a person on CACI as "substantiated, inconclusive or unfounded." The only cases reported to CACI are ones in which the agency determines that the allegations are "founded."

An individual has a due process right to obtain all of the reports that the agency’s decision was based upon, cross examine witnesses and present affirmative evidence by way of documentation or witnesses. After the hearing the agency can change its "substantiated" assessment. If so , the individual’s name is removed from the CACI list. If the allegation remains "substantiated" an individual has a right to file a Writ of Mandate with the Superior Court in order for a judge to independently assess whether the allegations should be determined to be "substantiated."

Sherman & Associates is experienced at representing individuals in the administrative hearing and Writs of Mandate to the Superior Court.

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