Welfare Watch June 29, 2016
Georgia begins new child abuse registry July 1, 2016 that may include youth ages 13 and older
Senate Bill 138 passed the legislative session in 2015 and was signed into law by Governor Deal. The new law, among other things, creates a child abuse registry effective July 1, 2016. The new registry is formally known as the Child Protective Service Information System (CPSIS); it is also referred to as the CAR (Child Abuse Registry).
The new registry will include names of individuals who have been convicted of child abuse. It will also include individuals who have been investigated and reported with a substantiated allegation of abuse or neglect to The Department of Human Services, Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) by Child Protective Services (CPS). Entries into the registry will begin July 1, 2016--convictions and cases prior to this date will not be included in current searches.
Information from the registry will only be accessible to select groups--these include:
- Georgia CPS investigators
- Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL)
- State/government agencies that license entities that have interactions with children or responsible for providing care of children.
- Licensed agencies that interact with children or responsible for providing care of children and the information is used for licensing or employment.
- Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) program for the purpose of screening and selecting employees and volunteers
An individual may also request a self-check.
The design of the law is to decrease the risk of child maltreatment in care. Formerly, a private child caring organization that was hiring staff could check criminal background checks, but could not access history around CPS cases. With the new registry in place, they will have access to this information. State Departments are now requiring their service providers to screen all staff and volunteers who work directly with children.
IMPORTANT ►Requirements of the law will include youth ages 13 and older. This is critical to note. Individuals will be notified when their name is placed on the registry. They will then have 10 days to file an appeal. If the appeal is not overruled, their name will remain on the registry for life.
Child advocates worked diligently to ensure the bill created a provision for youth to be removed from the registry. In addition to the appeal process, which might or might not be overruled, the following provision was agreed to: A minor may be removed from the registry when they reach the age of 18, if more than one year has passed from the date the act was committed that resulted in the substantiation; there have been no subsequent substantiations; and they can prove by a preponderance of the evidence that they have been rehabilitated.
CHILDREN NEED TO KNOW:
- What it means to be on the registry.
- How long they could be on the registry (potentially for life)
- How the registry could impact them as an adult
- How to appeal to have their name removed (take action immediately when notified)
Most importantly is the need for children and adults to fully understand what is considered maltreatment in the form of abuse or neglect. Prevent Child Abuse Georgia provides on their website information for better understanding abuse and neglect - http://abuse.publichealth.gsu.edu/child-maltreatment/ Please take time to become more familiar with laws concerning maltreatment and the prevention of abuse and neglect.
An email newsletter as a public service Editor
The Georgia Conference on Children and Families - November 2-4, 2016