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 which is overseen by the Arizona Department of Economic Security (“DES“) that has the responsibility to investigate allegations of abuse, exploitation and neglect of children. DCS will investigate claims of abuse or neglect of children including 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. Also included in the Registry is the nature of the allegation made and the date and description of the disposition of the allegation.
Once an allegation of abuse is filed with DCS an investigator is initiated. After the investigation is completed DCS staff determines whether evidence exists to support that the allegations are substantiated. As an administrative agency DCS must find that the evidence shows it is 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. After DCS completes an 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; however, if they choose not to appeal their name is placed 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 rehearing can be requested if an error is made by DES. The ALJ’s ruling may be upheld, amended, or rejected by the Director of the Department of Economic Security. If the claim of abuse is upheld after the OAH Hearing the person’s name is placed on the DCS Central Registry.