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How do i get a neglect charge taken off of my record?

Somerset, KY |

I was charged with dependency when the court removed my daughter from my home. I plead guilty to the charge and went about my case plan to get my daughter back.. I work in the health care field and was surprised that when my employer contacted me and said I could no longer work for them because I had a pending neglect charge on my background check. I asked my case worker about it and he said he found it to be neglect. All through out the court hearings it never once came up in court that I was charged with neglect, the judge repeatedly said "dependency" , so needless to say I have applied for many jobs and they always say I have a neglect charge. I sent a letter to frankfort, shortly after and have not heard anything. what do i do?

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Attorney answers 2

Posted

I haven't practiced in Kentucky for more than 2 decades but I think your problem is the existence of two different systems and a confusing set of interplay.

When child protective services gets a report about a child who is being injured or is at risk of injury, they categorize the case as either one of abuse or neglect. If they take your child and go to court or go to court to ask the court to take your child, the type of case they file is called a dependency case. The child is alleged to be dependent on the Commonwealth for care and protection because the child is being or is at risk of being abused or neglected. The judge kept saying the dependency because that is the type of case that was before the court. It was a dependency case, not a criminal case or a civil suit for damages or an eviction.

The case worker said he found neglect and neglect is on your record because they brought a dependency case because of neglect (rather than abuse).

If you pled guilty and just went about working on getting your child back, you admitted to the neglect that brought your child into the dependency case.

It sounds as if the deadline would have already passed but you should contact a local dependency attorney to see if you can still file for a fair hearing to try to have the neglect finding reversed. You should also look into whether and under what circumstances being found to have merely neglected your own child can be used to prevent you from working in the health care field. The licensing board for your certification might be able to tell you.

I have linked below the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children and Families' Child Welfare Information Gateway, which has links to federal policy and state laws and regulations about abuse, dependency and neglect.

NOTE: This answer is made available by the lawyer for educational purposes only. By using or participating in this site you understand that there is no attorney client privilege between you and the attorney responding. This site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your area who regularly practices in the subject matter which your question is about. You should develop an attorney client relationship with the lawyer of your choice so that your communications will be subject to the attorney client privilege and have the other benefits of a professional relationship. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The information and materials provided are general in nature, and may not apply to a specific matter as partially described in the question.

Michael L Rich

Michael L Rich

Posted

Now that a KY practitioner has answered, please disregard my above answer.

Posted

What most people, including attorneys, don't know is that there are two ways to end up on what is called the "central registry." The first is through proceedings in juvenile court like the one you descibed. The other is through an administrative process un a federal law called CAPTA. All juvenile proceedings in Kentucky are confidential and your employer should not have any access to those records or what is pending before that court. If they have been given that information, it has been done so illegally unless order by the judge.

What may have happened is that the DCBS made an administrative finding of neglect before anything was filed in court. Then when the case was disposed of in district court, there was a stipulation to dependency. If that is the case, the court finding takes precedent over the adminsitrative finding and your name should have been removed from the "central registry."

You should consult an attorney and he/she will need a) any letters you have received from the DCBS particulary any letter indicating that a claim against you was substantiated; and b) the adjudication order from district or family court.

Michael L Rich

Michael L Rich

Posted

I certainly take your word on the KY law issue and will post a comment on my own answer to disregard it now that a KY practitioner has answered but I am confused by your statement, "Then when the case was disposed of in district court, there was a stipulation to dependency. "If that is the case, the court finding takes precedent over the administrative finding and your name should have been removed from the "central registry." If the court finding is a stipulation to dependency, doesn't that confirm rather than negate the administrative finding of neglect? Why would a juvenile court finding that the child was dependent because of parental failures mean that the DCBS listing should be reversed?

Edward A. Baylous II

Edward A. Baylous II

Posted

The central registry in Kentucky is limited to findings of abuse or neglect under KRS 600.020(1) which defines a "abused or neglected child." For some reason both abuse and neglect are lumped together in the definition. I have tried to research the legislative history of the act but before 1996 or so resources for that are very thin. Findings of dependency are not supposed to appear on the registry. Dependency is defined under KRS 600.020(19) as "any child, other than an abused or neglected child, who is under improper care, custody, control, or guardianship that is not due to an intentional act of the parent, guardian, or person exercising custodial control or supervision of the child." This is why when I represent someone who is in a field where appearing on the central registry would disqualify them from employment, I try to get the county attorney to agree to a finding of dependency. I suspect that was the reason for the stipulation to dependency.

Michael L Rich

Michael L Rich

Posted

Interesting. Thanks. Having abused or neglected child excluded from the definition of dependent is unusual. Mass statute says a child in need of case and protection is one who is abused or neglected.

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