Question

What can I do if I receive an "indicated" or "unfounded" letter from Child Protective Services in New York?

John M. Zenir

Answered by:
John M. Zenir

Located in Westbury, NY
Attorney at Law

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Answer

This Report of Child Neglect/Abuse could impact your future employment because of the fact that the existence of an "indicated" report must be revealed to a potential employer if you are applying for a job working where children or the elderly receive services.

You must act quickly or you will be precluded from requesting that this "report" be removed from New York State's records. You have sixty (60) days from the date on the letter you received to protest and request that the "report," whether "indicated" or "unfounded," be removed from the record called the NYS Central Registry. The removal process starts with a professional letter citing Statutes and Case Law demanding that the determination be reversed or completely removed. 

In order for Child Protective Services (CPS) to determine that a "report" should be "indicated," the investigative CPS worker must ONLY find that there is SOME credible evidence to believe that the child has been abused or neglected. HOWEVER, when a "letter" appeal is filed within the sixty (60) day time period,  the burden of proof changes to "the preponderance of the evidence" standard, which means that the likelihood that the child was abused or neglected is more than fifty percent (50%). This is a significant difference and as a result the "report" is frequently changed when a quality properly researched letter is submitted. 

If the letter appeal fails, there is still an opportunity to have the record expunged or changed at an Administratiive Hearing at which the state has the burden of proving its case.

It is also important to keep in mind that an "unfounded" report also remains on your record unless appealed.

Disclaimer: The answer is intended to be for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.

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