Reversal of DCF Substantiation and Registry Placement
Ten years ago one of my clients was accused of inappropriately touching a young child. No criminal charges were ever filed. DCF however, substantiated him for sexual abuse and placed him on its Central Registry. The registry is an administrative process, not a criminal or civil court action. DCF maintains a registry of individuals it deems are a risk to children. To fall into DCF's jurisdiction, a perpetrator must fit into one of a few categories that he or she has some sort of responsibility over the child at issue. Typically parents, babysitters, coaches, teachers or other people who are given access to children with the expectation that they exert some sort of responsibility over them meet the requirements. Someone with no relationship or responsible role, such as a random person, do not. Acts of abuse or neglect perpetrated by such individuals are strictly criminal issues (assault, sexual assault, risk of injury, reckless endangerment, etc.).
In my client's case, we argued that not only did the alleged abuse not occur--there were inconsistencies within the stories and no criminal prosecution--and that, based on DCF's own administrative policies, that this particular incident did not rise to a substantiation and registry offense. The hearing officer agreed and reversed. The client no longer has substantiations and is no longer on the registry.
To appeal a substantiation or registry placement, an inidividual first must request an internal review. After that, if the decision is upheld, the individual can request an administrative hearing at DCF. Following that, if necessary, the individual can appeal to the Superior Court and then Appellate and Supreme Court.