Don’t let an “indicated” Child Protective Services report go unchallenged! An “indicated” CPS report can result in the loss of your professional license, the loss of your job, and even prevent you from coaching youth sports. We have helped teachers, medical professionals, law enforcement officers and others challenge indicated CPS reports before the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS). This is a two-stage process involving an initial administrative review by OCFS and, if necessary, an Administrative Fair Hearing known as an “Expungement Hearing” before an Administrative Law Judge.
Since in many cases OCFS will agree to “expunge” or “purge” the indicated report administratively without a hearing, it is important to tell your side of the story and to emphasize all of the evidence favorable to you right from the start. In the event OCFS fails expunge the case administratively, it automatically refers the case to an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) for a Fair Hearing. Following the Fair Hearing the ALJ may purge the report, amend it, or issue a ruling that the report is not reasonably related to your employment and that it may not be disclosed to current or prospective employers, or to licensing agencies. Although nominally in the employ of OCFS, the ALJs actually work in an office that is independent from other OCFS officials.
If you find yourself the subject of an “indicated” CPS report, it is important to have an attorney at your side knowledgable and experienced with OCFS procedures. This is no place to go it alone!
What to Expect
Once we decide to move forward, I will marshal evidence favorable to your case and present it in a cohesive fashion to OCFS at the time we ask for the initial administrative review. Beforehand, it may be possible for us to obtain a copy of the CPS file. Because all of these submissions become part of your permanent file it is important that you contact us before you write to OCFS requesting that your CPS report be expunged or modified.
If your case is brought to a hearing, you can rest assured that you will be thoroughly prepared beforehand on the usual “order of proof,” the difference between direct and cross-examination, and other aspects of the conduct of a Fair Hearing. In this way you will know what to expect and avoid surprise by unanticipated questions, objections that may be made by one side or the other, or the judge’s evidentiary rulings. In addition, there are some public speaking techniques that can help you to relax and focus on the questions being asked.
It often is said that “rules of evidence are also rules of persuasion,” and all of our pre-hearing preparation is designed to get relevant information to the judge quickly and efficiently.
I spent the first nine years of my professional career prosecuting Child Abuse, Neglect, and Domestic Violence cases and presenting CPS Expungement Hearings on behalf of the Genesee County Department of Social Services. A former consultant to the New York Public Welfare Association and member of the Board of Directors of the New York Federation on Child Abuse and Neglect (now named Prevent Child Abuse New York), I was active during those years helping to preserve and strengthen Child Abuse and Neglect laws in New York State. After leaving government service, I continued to be active in defending parents in the same cases that I used to prosecute. Of late, I have focused my Family Law practice on Fair Hearings before the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS), and on Family Court appeals to the Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court.
Geographic Areas Served
Buffalo – Rochester – Elmira – Binghamton – Syracuse – Utica – Watertown
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