The attorneys with Chelle Law can provide an Arizona Child Safety Hearing Attorney to represent individuals before the Arizona Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH). The Arizona Department of Child Safety (DCS) is a program overseen by the Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES). It has the responsibility of investigating allegations of abuse, exploitation and neglect of children. When DCS investigates claims of abuse or neglect of children this includes not providing food, shelter, health care, physical or mental abuse, etc.
DCS Central Registry
The Central Registry is a database which contains the name and date of birth of people with substantiated claims of abuse, neglect or exploitation of a child. The Registry also includes the nature of the allegation made, the date and description of the disposition.
The DCS investigates allegations of abuse. To do this, they assign an investigator. The investigator looks into the allegations to determine if they have merit and if there is evidence to support them. As an administrative agency, DCS must find the evidence shows it’s more likely than not that the abuse took place. This is a lower standard of proof than in a criminal proceeding, which requires beyond a reasonable doubt. Upon completing the investigation a letter is sent stating whether the claim is substantiated or not. If the allegation is substantiated, the individual has the right to request an administrative hearing. Individuals who choose not to appeal have their name put on the DCS Central Registry.
If an appeal hearing is requested, the Protective Services Review Team (PSRT) will review the investigation’s findings of DCS. If the PSRT disagrees with the decision made by DCS, the allegation will not be substantiated.
Department of Child Safety Hearing
Any Department of Child Saftey Hearing is conducted by the Office of Administrative Hearings before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). The hearing is not as formal as a trial, but it is similar. Each party will present evidence using documents or sworn testimony. Each party also gives an opening statement and a closing argument which should explain why the judge should rule one way or the other. The attorney can cross examine witnesses and testify on her own behalf. After the hearing, the ALJ will review the transcripts, evidence and make a recommendation to DES. A nurse and their attorney can request a rehearing if they believe DES made an error. The ALJ’s ruling may be upheld, amended, or rejected by the Director of the Department of Economic Security. When claims of abuse are upheld after the OAH Hearing a person’s name is put on the DCS Central Registry.