Learn How to Challenge a CPS Indicated Finding
Dealing with child protective services? Learn how to challenge a CPS indicated finding in this video by Jennifer Sunderlin Morton, one of our experienced family law attorneys in Albany.
Download Our Free Divorce Guide
If you have been indicated in a Child Protective Services investigation, you have the right to appeal. Your first step in that process is to respond to the letter that notified you that you were indicated. To do this, you must write a letter to the Office of Child and Family Services in which you reference the case and ID number. In your letter, you should ask to have your indication reviewed, reversed, and marked as unfounded.
Your letter will trigger an automatic administrative review, and it is possible that your case will be marked as unfounded at that level, especially if some procedural error or other glaring error took place during the course of your investigation. In your initial letter, you can also request a copy of the records of your CPS investigation. Doing so will also be important if your indication is not overturned in response to that initial letter. If your case is not reversed at that first level, you will receive another letter stating that an administrative review has been conducted and that CPS has decided to retain your indication.
Your next option is to go through the Fair Hearing process, which is an administrative review process that offers you the opportunity to appear in front of an administrative law judge. During this appearance, you may present evidence on your own behalf that shows that the indication was not warranted. The Department of Social Services will also participate in this process by presenting their information supporting their belief that the indication was, in fact, warranted. The Department of Social Services will go first in this process and has the burden of proof. It must show that there was a substantial basis for your indication based on the information available at the time. After this, you have an opportunity to fully refute whatever information that the Department of Social Services has presented.