Los Angeles Child Abuse Central Index Attorney
Being listed in the California Child Abuse Central Index (CACI) can have devastating consequences. If you have been wrongly listed in the CACI, it is possible to have your name removed though a “grievance” procedure; but the process is complex. You have to act quickly. Having the assistance of anexperienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Los Angeles criminal defense attorney who understands the complexities of CACI grievance proceedings is important.
What is the California Child Abuse Central Index (CACI)?
The California Child Abuse Central Index (CACI) is a da¬tabase kept by the California Department of Justice (DOJ). You do not need to be convicted of child abuse to be placed in the CACI – just being investigated for child abuse and neglect is enough. Educational, childcare, adoption, foster care and child welfare employers have access to the CACI. So your ability to work or volunteer with children, adopt or serve as a foster parent can be severely limited if you are listed in CACI.
How did I get in the California Child Abuse Central Index?
Under California child abuse law, various people are required to report suspected child abuse (e.g., doctors, teachers, childcare workers, law enforcement officers). Reports can also be made voluntarily (e.g., by a neighbor who suspects child abuse.) In Los Angeles County, reports are generally made to Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services or a Los Angeles law enforcement agency. Following the investigation, the report is categorized as “unfounded,” “substantiated” or “inconclusive” and the case worker determines whether placement on CACI is warranted.
What does a California Child Abuse Central Index listing include?
A CACI listing includes:
- The names and descriptions of the suspects and victims
- The reporting agency that investigated the incident
- The name and/or identifying number assigned to the case
- The type(s) of abuse that was investigated
- The investigator’s findings, which will be either “substantiated” or “inconclusive”
How do I get my name removed from CACI?
When your name is going to be submitted to CACI, a notice will be sent to your last known address. You then have 30 days to appeal that action. The appeal is called a “Grievance Hearing.” If you get a notice that your name is going to be submitted to CACI, you should call an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately—the grievance hearing is your best chance to keep your information out of the index.
Can I Represent Myself at a CACI Grievance Hearing?
Yes. You are not required to have an attorney at a CACI Grievance Hearing, but it is a good idea to have an attorney familiar with the process standing by your side to level the playing field. An experienced grievance hearing attorney can ensure that small mistakes do not derail your success. For example,
- There are strict time limitations associated with CACI grievance proceedings; your attorney will ensure that everything proceeds on schedule.
- You are allowed to review the evidence the state has against you and the list of witnesses who will provide testimony against you; your attorney will help you determine if any unfavorable evidence can be excluded on technical grounds.
- You can have witnesses testify on your behalf; your attorney can help you determine which witnesses will be effective and will help those witnesses make the best presentation possible.
- Although the hearing is not supposed to be adversarial (like a trial) there are rules that must be followed; if the county does not follow the grievance hearing rules (e.g., disclose all evidence and witnesses before the hearing) your attorney will protect your rights.
- The allegedly abused child maybe a witness at the hearing; your attorney can work with you to obtain the information necessary to effectively question the child and minimize any harmful testimony.
- If you are successful, the county must request that the DOJ remove your information from the CACI; your attorney can help you confirm that the listing has been deleted.
Why should I retain Kenneth H. Lewis to represent me at a CACI Grievance Hearing?
Ken Lewis has over 30 years experience as a criminal defense lawyer. He has the particularized knowledge and experience to handle these specialized grievance procedures and has an outstanding track record of success. He will leave no stone unturned in representing you, will keep you fully informed and will make sure that everything possible is done to insure a successful result.
Call Kenneth H. Lewis now to schedule a FREE CONSULTATION today.