If your name has been added the Child Abuse and Neglect Central Registry (aka the central registry) as a result of a substantiated complaint of child abuse or neglect you may challenge the government’s decision and clear your name.
Clearing your name is a two-step process.
First, you or your attorney must ask the DHS to conduct an administrative review of the finding that you neglected or abused a child. In this action, you are known as the “petitioner.” The goal of this review is have your case record amended or to you’re your record on the central registry amended or expunged. The request must be written and mailed to the local office that substantiated the complaint against you.
Within 30 days of receiving the written request, the local office must review the case record, determine the appropriate action and inform you of its decision by mail.
The Child Protection Law (MCL 722.627(5) and (6)) authorizes the Department of Human Service (“DHS”) to amend and expunge a Children protective Services (“CPS”) report and/or central registry information. According to the CPS Manual, amendment means correcting specific information:
• In the CPS case record, including the CPS Investigation Report.
• On central registry, including deleting names of individuals.
Expunction means deleting the entire complaint from central registry; it is not the destruction of the local case record.
Amendment to the CPS record or central registry or expunction of a record on central registry must occur:
To correct inaccurate information.
When the perpetrator requests amendment or expunction and the local office concurs.
When ordered by an administrative law judge after administrative hearing or rehearing, or circuit court order.
Local offices must consider amendment or expunction from central registry when the case record review reveals:
Errors in fact or missing information that can be corrected.
Supporting evidence was weak and would not withstand the evidentiary standards of an administrative hearing (a case without a preponderance of evidence).
Witnesses or case records are unavailable.
Second, after DHS conducts an administrative review and refuses to expunge your name from the Child Abuse and Neglect Central Registry, you can appeal to circuit court.
Article 6, section 13 of the Michigan Constitution gives Michigan’s circuit court appellate jurisdiction and supervisory and general control over “inferior tribunals,” including administrative agencies like the DHS.
Under Michigan’s Administrative Procures Act (“APA”), you must seek review of a final agency decision in a contested case within 60 days after the date the notice of the final decision is mailed or within 60 days after the notice of the decision on a timely motion for rehearing before the agency is delivered or mailed. MCL 24.304.
This will entitle you to file a brief setting forth the Agency’s errors and a hearing before a judge where you can argue your case.
Among the reason that a court may overturn an agency’s decision are:
The decision is not supported by competent, material, and substantial evidence on the whole record; and/or
The decision contains a substantial and material error of law.
If the DHS has improperly placed your name on the central registry, we will help you have your case record amended or expunged on the central registry.
Amendment or Expunction of CPS Records
© 2012 by Law Offices RL Johnson PLLC
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